Russian, Turkish FMs discuss Syrian conference in Sochi

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed preparations for a Syria peace conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a phone call on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. The ministers exchanged views on the final aspects regarding the organization of the high-profile event, to be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30. On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres promised to send his Syria peace negotiator to the conference in Sochi. Guterres is “confident that the congress in Sochi will be an important contribution” to reviving the peace talks held under UN auspices in Geneva, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, according to AFP. Part of the Syrian opposition has meanwhile refused to attend the meeting, alleging that it is an attempt by the Syrian government’s close ally to “sideline” the current United Nations peace process.