Russia has always paid special attention to the Middle East. For many years the Soviet Union strongly supported Iran, Egypt, Algeria and Syria. The USSR was one of the first to recognize the independence of the Syrian state, rendered direct military assistance, and concluded the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between the USSR and the Syrian Arab Republic in October 1980, which implied support in defense of the country.
From the very first days of the outbreak of the armed conflict in Syria, Russia has helped to settle it in every possible way, but now, at the end of the military operation, the Russian side has an equally important mission to reach independence of this Middle East state. Despite the efforts of some external players to destabilize peace processes through the support of the opposition, Moscow is trying all the best to preserve the Syrian state within existing borders.
The Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi, held in late January 2018, is a direct confirmation of this. Initially, the Syrian problem was brought to the Geneva peace talks, but, as it turned out, not entirely successful: for nine rounds of the "Geneva" it was not possible to form a constitutional commission, which was achieved in one day of the Sochi Congress.
Nevertheless, there were many difficulties with the organization of the Congress in Sochi. It was repeatedly postponed (the first time it was planned to be held in November 2017), there were numerous tensions between the organizations (Turkish and Kurds), moreover, some opposition Syrian parties refused to participate in the congress. For example, the representative of the Syrian negotiating committee, Yahya al-Aridi, said that the government of Syria and Russia "did not ensure the fulfillment of the necessary obligations," and called the Congress in Sochi an attempt to "undermine the efforts of the UN as an intermediary in peace negotiations."
Despite numerous difficulties, the organizers managed to bring together all the representatives of the Syrian society, both the government and the opposition, under one roof. It is precisely the fact that different segments of the population of Syria were invited to participate in the Congress explain the success of the Sochi event, in contrast to the Geneva process.
At the event, the main principles of the future state structure of Syria were examined: from respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity to ensuring the rights of all ethnic and confessional groups. Following the results of the Congress, it was decided to create a constitutional commission of 150 people (100 from the government, 50 from the opposition), which will be responsible for the creation of new legislation for Syria. From now on, the constitutional commission will be in Geneva under the patronage of the United Nations with the participation of observers from Russia, Turkey and Iran, without the participation of the United States. Only in this case it is possible to comply with the main requirement of the Congress - to minimize the interference of other states. This will subsequently create prerequisites for the democratic development of the country and the restoration of infrastructure, industry and the economy. All these decisions will turn Syria into a territorially unified secular state with a republican form of government.
Thus, this Congress of the national dialogue of Syria in Sochi fully justified the mission entrusted to it and launched the process of developing a new state structure of the Syrian Arab Republic under the patronage of the United Nations in the framework of the Geneva talks. After all, it is necessary to seek a peaceful solution to the problem to restore the country from the ruins, raise its economy and attract investment.