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    Delegation members of the main Syrian opposition body, the High Negotiations Committee (HCN), delegation head Asaad al-Zoabi (C), delegate George Sabra (5th L) and HNC chief negotiator and Army of Islam rebel group's leading member Mohammed Alloush (3rd R) attend a press conference following Syria peace talks at the United Nations Office on April 13, 2016 in Geneva

    Syrian Opposition to Boycott National Dialogue Congress in Sochi

    Middle East
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian Negotiation Commission, will skip this month’s National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi, the opposition's umbrella organization, the High Negotiations Committee, said Saturday.

    "The Syrian negotiation commission of revolutionary and opposition forces declares boycott of the congress in Sochi called by Russia for January 29-30," the High Negotiations Committee tweeted.

    The Sochi peace conference is scheduled for January 30. Russia has invited more than 1,500 representatives of the Syrian society to take part in the event. The United Nations and several regional and international organizations have been offered observer roles.

    The goal of the gathering is to bring together opposition and pro-government forces as well as representatives of Syria's numerous ethnic and religious groups. The congress lets the participators discuss their vision of Syria's future in a bid to advance the peace process.

    Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that he had inquired about UN presence at the peace conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Moscow said it expects the UN chief to respond positively to observer role at the congress.


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