Led Syrian peace talks resumed in Vienna

The Secretary-General, having been fully briefed by his Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and taking into account the statement by the Russian Federation that the outcome of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, which will be held in Sochi on 29-30 January 2018, would be brought to Geneva as a contribution to the intra-Syrian talks process under the auspices of the United Nations in accordance with resolution 2254, has chose to accept the invitation of the Russian Federation to send a representative to attend the Sochi Congress.

Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey spoke by phone on Saturday, focusing on preparations for the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due in Sochi on January 29-30, the Russian Foreign Ministry's press service said on Saturday. Turkey, which has aided Syrian opposition forces, cooperated with Russian Federation for the peace conference.

The opposition will decide in the next two days whether to attend Sochi, its chief negotiator Nasr Hariri, said on Wednesday.

The 9th round of UN-mediated talks between Syria's warring factions came to an end in Austria's capital Vienna on Friday with no tangible progress.

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"Then it will be up to him to take the decision what will be the U.N. response to the invitation to attend Sochi", U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in a statement to reporters. The Secretary-General has designated Mr.de Mistura for that goal.

"There is no question of letting the Geneva process be hijacked, diverted or bypassed", the AFP news agency quoted a French diplomatic source as saying during UN-sponsored talks in Vienna on January 25-26.

"This whole round in Vienna was supposed to be a crucial one, a test for commitment". The UN says months of heavy fighting in the rebel held enclave near Damascus has led to an acute shortage of food and medicine and the worst malnutrition seen in the Syrian civil war.

"Our main goal is to see the commitment of all the sides to the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254".

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Government forces have mounted offensives against two remaining rebel pockets, Idlib in the northwest and eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

The three key regional players have been sponsoring parallel peace talks since the start of previous year that have looked to still the fighting. He says he has taken note of the statement by the Russian Federation that the outcome of the congress would be presented as a contribution to the United Nations -brokered intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

He said he would brief United Nations chief António Guterres on the outcome of the Vienna meetings and it would be up to him to decide on the UN's response to the invitation to go to Sochi. Under this mandate, de Mistura notes a new constitution will be drawn up in Geneva under the auspices of the so-called Geneva process.

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