Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed in phone talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Friday the preparations for the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, Sputnik reported.
"The Russian minister reiterated the special importance of this event for the success of the political settlement of the Syrian crisis in full accordance with the parameters set forth by UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the ministry said in a statement.
As UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has commented on the preparations, he himself will decide whether to attend the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi after the conclusion of negotiations in Vienna.
The event will be held in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30, with invitations to participate sent to UN representatives and observers from Great Britain, China, the United States and France — as permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. All the invitations were sent by a special representative of the Russian president for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev on behalf of states — peace guarantors in Syria: Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The US side has confirmed the receipt of the invitation, but not yet verified the attendance.
Previously, the Syrian settlement process was ensured by the efforts of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), chaired by Russia and the United States. However, after the change of the US administration in early 2017, US President Donald Trump did not show any definite intention to be particularly involved in the Syrian issue. The three states which have a strong interest in and influence on Syria — Russia, Turkey, and Iran — decided to use this window of opportunity by taking the settlement process into their own hands.
Thus, a new negotiations platform in the Kazakh capital, Astana in early 2017, with Russia, Turkey, and Iran taking on the roles of guarantors of the peace settlement in the war-torn country.