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UN envoy for Syria to attend Russia-sponsored talks in Sochi

UN envoy for Syria to attend Russia-sponsored talks in Sochi

India Blooms News Service | | 28 Jan 2018, 04:07 pm

New York, Jan 28 (JEN): United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will send his Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to Sochi next week to attend the Russia-sponsored Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, talks reportedly on a political solution towards ending the seven-year Syrian conflict.

Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the UN chief, who is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, attending the African Union Summit, was fully briefed by de Mistura, who himself just wrapped up two days of UN-facilitated talks with Syrian Government and opposition delegations in Vienna.

The Spokesman said that in making the decision to send his envoy, Guterres took into account Russia's assertion that the outcome of the Sochi meeting, which will be held on 29 and 30 January, would be brought to Geneva as a contribution to the UN-backed intra-Syrian talks, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2254.

Adopted in 2015, that resolution endorsed a road map for a political process to end the conflict in Syria, including specific language on governance, a constitution and elections.

“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, based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué and Security Council resolution 2254,” said Dujarric.

Closing out the constitution-focused special 9th round of intra-Syrian talks last night in Vienna, de Mistura told reporters that “the ultimate goal of a constitutional process is to enable the Syrian people to freely and independently determine their own future in UN-supervised parliamentary and presidential elections, meeting the requirements laid out in resolution 2254.”

Recalling that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through “an inclusive and Syrian-led political process,” the Special Envoy said it was his assessment that any Constitutional Committee would “at the very least” comprise Government and Opposition representatives in the intra-Syrian talks, Syrian experts, civil society, tribal leaders and women; and that care would be taken to ensure adequate representation of Syria's ethnic and religious components.

The conflict is Syria, which erupted in the wake of massive popular demonstrations in 2011, has, according to the UN relief wing, been marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life. Some 13.1 million people now require humanitarian assistance, including close to three million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.

“I share the immense frustration of millions of Syrians, inside and outside the country, at the lack of a political settlement,” de Mistura said, expressing hope that the talks in Sochi will contribute to a revived and credible intra-Syrian talks process, which he plans to reconvene “in the near future.”

“Ultimately, what is required is political will. It is high time that diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation prevail for the interest of all Syrians,” he said.

Photo: Stanislav Jenis

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm