UPDATES WITH RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY'S STATEMENT
By Kubra Chohan
ANKARA (AA) - UN’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will attend a planned summit on the Syrian conflict in Russia’s coastal city of Sochi.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was fully briefed by Mistura, and “has decided to accept the invitation of the Russian Federation to send a representative to attend the Sochi Congress,” Stephane Dujarric, the UN’s spokesman, said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General is confident that the Congress in Sochi will be an important contribution to a revived intra-Syrian talks process under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva,” Dujarric added.
Earlier Saturday, the Syrian opposition’s Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC) said it will not take part in the meeting.
The announcement was made by HNC’s head Nasir Hariri following a two-day meeting on Syria held in Austrian capital Vienna.
The guarantor countries Russia, Iran and Turkey, had agreed to gather for Syrian peace talks in southern Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 29-30.
Russia's Foreign Ministry welcomed Guterres' decision to send Mistura to attend the Congress in Sochi.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
* Elena Teslova in Moscow contributed to this story.