FILE - Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid FILE - Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid

Russia officially invites Egypt to attend Sochi Summit on Syria

Mon, Jan. 22, 2018
CAIRO – 22 January 2018: Egypt has received Monday an official invitation by Russia to attend Sochi Summit on Syria scheduled to be held by the end of January, according to the Foreign Ministry.

In an official statement issued by Ministry of Foreign affairs spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, it was stated that Moscow handed Egypt an official invitation to Sochi Summit that will be attended by most of the political parties in Syria to reach a strategy aiming to end the struggle inside the state.

The invitation, delivered on Monday January 22, comes as a result of Egypt’s strong and constant attempts to ease the sufferings and disputes within Syria and preserve the state’s unity.

“Egypt supports and backs the current negotiations sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva as it stands basically for the political solution which we consider the only solution to end the crises in Syria,” Abu Zeid stated.

Egypt has been a key player in the Syrian crises negotiations during the past period, and it was expected to be part of the official negotiations in case it was invited by the hosting country.

In July 2017, Syria’s “Al-Ghad” (Tomorrow) opposition movement signed a cease-fire agreement in Eastern Ghouta with the Syrian regime. The agreement was signed with Egyptian mediation, according to an official statement issued then.

The signing of the agreement came after three day-negations in the presence of representatives of the Syrian opposition, Syrian regime and the Russian Defense Ministry.

The movement also thanked President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and the Egyptian government for its mediation and efforts hosting the negotiations and the agreement signing. “Finally we hope this agreement is one of the steps towards achieving peace inside the whole Syrian territory.”

On June 24, Chargé d'affaires of the Egyptian Embassy in Damascus, Mohamed Tharwat said, "any role or help from the international powers regarding settling the Syrian crises will be welcomed."

“We believe that the Syrian crises will not come to an end, but through using dialogue and communications,” Tharwat said in statements to Syrian Al-Watan newspaper. He added that Egypt is backing all the attempts regarding solving the crises whether through Geneva or Astana dialogues.

“Time has proved that the military solution is not going to work regarding the Syrian crises; we need to know that there is no winner or loser in this case and for this, the political solution is the only solution,” Tharwat said.

A month later, Syria’s “Al-Ghad” (Tomorrow) opposition movement chairperson, Ahmed Jarba, announced holding a press conference in Cairo to explain more details regarding the agreements.

Jarba affirmed that choosing Egypt as a sponsor in the ceasefire agreements didn’t come out of nowhere, and he mentioned three reasons for the choice. “First, Egypt has not been involved in any conflict with the Syrian parties, which are the main factors in the ceasefire agreements, and it has not backed any armed Syrian faction. Second, Egypt has good relations with Russia (co-sponsor of the ceasefire). Third, Egypt’s role is confined to only mediation,” he said.

“Egypt’s brokerage is essential,” Jarba added, praising the Egyptian role in reaching the ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta region in Damascus, which was announced on July 23.
“We previously had reservations over the Arabs’ complete absence from the Syrian negotiations that have been hosted by Astana. So Egypt’s role in the negotiations for the Ghouta and Homs ceasefires was essential, as it was the only Arab country to play a role,” Jarba said in the conference.

Later on September 19, Egypt hosted a Syrian conference for the Syrian opposition movement headed by Jarba, aiming to achieve peace and stability not just within Syria but in the whole region.

This time, however, it was not just a short press conference to announce the final results of the opposition’s talks, but it was a real chance for the Syrian tribes to sit-down and talk within an environment that believes in political solutions and national dialogues as the only path for peace.

According to Jarba statements during his opening speech for the conference held in Cairo, this conference considered as real proof on what he called the “Arabian project” which includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This project is supporting and backing the real, free and balanced Syrian home in which no rights are violated, according to Jarba.

Syria's Al-Ghad opposition movement was founded in March 2016 by Syrian National Council member, Ahmed Jarba. The Syrian political situation has been deteriorating since the protests emerged with the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011, when the opposition created the Free Syrian Army to face Assad’s forces. The situation worsened when the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group began interfering in the country in 2014.

About 470,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the war as of February 2016, according to the latest data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Some 1.6 million Syrians have been domestically displaced, while the number of refugees has reached 4.8 million people, the data added.

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