Afrin operation not to influence Sochi meeting: Turkish FM
Turkey’s military operation on the Kurdish militia group the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Afrin province will not affect the Syrian conference in Sochi scheduled for later this month, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview on Jan. 20.
Ankara has repeatedly said the YPG should not be allowed to join the Sochi conference, he said, responding to a question concerning an Iranian statement that the military offensive could affect the meeting scheduled for Jan. 29-30
Any ground operation in Syria may affect the Sochi-based Syrian National Dialogue Congress “in either a positive or negative manner,”
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari told reporters in a comment on Turkey’s operation in Syria’s Afrin.
“We hope the guarantor countries will take action to avoid this,” he said.
Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed on lists of participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, though the final formalities may take a couple more days after further consultations with Iran and Turkey, the Russian president’s Special Representative for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev said on Jan. 20, TASS News Agency reported.
"The key question we have discussed is the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. My opinion is the meeting was successful. We have some work to finalize everything, which may take a day or two maximum,” he said.
Moscow is interested in the U.N. Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura’s participation in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, the Russian president’s Special Representative for the Syrian settlement said.
"We have been working on [participation in the congress of regional observers and the U.N.] We want U.N. representation at the forum at the highest possible level, and we hope the secretary general will send over Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who could participate in the event’s opening.”
The situation on the ground in Sochi should not affect the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, due to be convened in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Alexander Lavrentyev said.
"The situation on the ground, on the battlefield in some Syrian regions remains rather tense. However, on the whole, it should on no account have any impact on the results of the Congress." Lavrentyev said.