As many as 133 Syrian civil society organizations announced their outright rejection of the so-called national dialogue conference due to be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30, saying that this conference poses a serious threat to the peace process in Syria.
In a joint statement, the organizations stressed that the Sochi Conference, which will be sponsored by Russia, would not ensure fair, adequate, representation and participation for the various components of the Syrian people.
Signatories to the statement said that the proposed Sochi conference was neither fair nor credible and would further undermine the Geneva peace process as well as all relevant UN resolutions, including UN Security Council resolution 2254.
The statement added that Russia’s military intervention in Syria and its repeated use of its veto power on the Security Council makes it a party to the conflict. It added that Russia could not claim to be a neutral mediator nor a fair sponsor of any national dialogue given its current actions in Syria.
Moreover, the statement underscored that the United Nations-led Geneva process is the only venue for legitimate, credible political process and the only process which the Syrian people consider as unbiased.
The civil society organization noted that the Sochi Conference undermines UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the UN-led peace process as well as risks bestowing legitimacy upon the Assad regime which has long lost it. They said that the participation of the UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura in the Sochi Conference represents a serious departure from the UN-led Geneva process.
Signatories stressed the need to continue the UN-led Geneva process as its allows real engagement of the Syrian civil society. The statement also called for an end to indiscriminate attacks on Syrian civilians, the lifting of sieges, and the release of political prisoners and arbitrarily detained persons. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Al Quds Al Arabi)