Putin: Planned Syria congress aims to boost UN peace talks

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The leaders of Iran and Turkey on Wednesday supported the convocation of a Syrian peoples' congress as one of the first steps to establish inclusive dialogue in the war-ravaged country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Speaking after meeting his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani and Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said the three leaders had instructed their diplomats, security and defense bodies to work on the composition and date of the congress.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani have agreed to a "congress" of Syria's regime and opposition forces in Sochi, aimed at boosting fraught UN peace talks in Geneva.

In his speech, Erdogan said that "the summit discussed the steps required to overcome the crisis in Syria, and stressed that the main role in this process is the establishment of areas to reduce the escalation and activate the political process in Geneva on the results achieved in the Astana talks."

Erdogan stressed "the promotion and development of the political process in Syria, including the opportunity to include new parties."

Syria's leadership is committed to the peace process, constitutional reform and free elections, Putin said after the trilateral meeting held in the southern Russian city of Sochi. The three presidents agreed to step up efforts to finish off "terrorist" groups in Syria, he said.

The congress would "gather representatives of different political parties, internal and external opposition" to discuss "the parameters of the future state," Putin said, adding that it would be "a stimulus for activating the efforts for Syria regulation in the framework of the Geneva process."

(With Reuters, AFP)

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