A broad array of Syrian dissidents and opposition figures have called for boycotting the so-called "national dialogue conference" which Russia is preparing to hold in the Black Sea resort of Sochi at the end of January.
A statement signed by more than 3,500 opposition figures, including independents, members of the Syrian Coalition, the Syrian Interim Government, Free Syrian Army commanders, journalists and activists stressed that Russia is trying by calling the Sochi conference to impose a solution to its own advantage and sow discord and divisions among the Syrian opposition.
The statement added: Russia is seeking to impose a phony constitution that would ensure the survival of the head of the regime, Bashar al-Assad, and allow foreign occupation forces fighting alongside his regime to remain in Syria with the help of elections under the supervision and control of Assad’s security services who will not allow any international supervision of elections in Syria.
"The Sochi conference contravenes the six-year negotiations in Geneva and is aimed at ending them by the use of force and deception in favor of the Assad regime and its allies while denying the Syrian people their sacred right to freedom, dignity and sovereignty for which one million Syrians sacrificed their lives,” the statement said.
“The Sochi conference is also seeking to undermine the Geneva negotiations and empty them of any substance by flooding the opposition with a sea of invitees who already support Assad's survival in power. It is also aimed at sidelining all fundamental issue set forth in UN resolutions, most notably the issue of political transition."
The statement went on to say that the "Russians cannot conceal their intention to consolidate the rule of Assad and his regime and undermine the Geneva process which is based on UN Security Council resolutions and international understandings and replace it with negotiations that lack any legal basis save Moscow's political and strategic dictates."
The signatories underscored that the Sochi conference "aims to consolidate and bestow legitimacy on the Russian-Iranian occupation by using the Russian and Iranian military presence in Syria to enforce the decisions that would come out of the Sochi Conference."
The statement called on all bodies and organizations that can influence the Syrian public opinion, most importantly political and union organizations, the FSA groups, national figures, and intellectuals to boycott the conference and to work by all means to foil it. It also called for thwarting Moscow's attempts to “hijack the will of the Syrian people and confiscate their right to organize a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned national dialogue as well as its attempts to undermine their sovereignty; ignore their enormous sacrifices; and ruin their future and the future of their children."
The signatories called upon the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the UN Security Council member states, friendly countries, and international legal and human rights organizations to intervene "to force Russia and all active players to commit to international charters and resolutions. They reiterated that the Geneva process and the UN Security Council resolutions remain the only legitimate framework for the completion of negotiations aimed at bringing about a political solution in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)