Sochi, January 30 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the right conditions were in place for Syria to move on from its tragic conflict, as delegates gathered here on Tuesday for the second day of a Syrian peace conference that opposition groups boycotted.
The Russian-backed Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue aimed to hammer out a commission for the creation of a new Constitution and a political transition in war-torn Syria.
The main opposition delegation, the Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC), refused to attend the event in the Russian Black Sea resort city amid concerns that any agreement would only benefit the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Efe news reported.
“It can be considered that today the right conditions have been created to turn this tragic page of Syria’s history,” said Putin in a message read out by his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“This is a good opportunity to achieve the desires of the Syrian people to end this war between brothers, to definitively put an end to terrorism and return to a normal life,” the statement said.
In the message, Putin said that only the Syrian people had the right to decide on the future of their country.
Members of the HNC, however, refused to leave the airport at Sochi, apparently protesting the presence of Syrian regime flags in the arrival hall.
A board of Kurdish negotiators invited by Moscow was also due to boycott the convention amid accusations that Russia gave Turkey a green light to launch its recent military incursion against Kurdish YPG militias in Afrin province, located in far northwestern Syria.
Top international dignitaries such as UN’s Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have supported the initiative as a way to revive stuttering UN-backed talks in Geneva.
Any transitional Constitution in Syria would be drawn up under the auspices of the UN, Putin said in the message.