What comes after the Syria conference in Sochi?
The participants at the Syria Conference in Sochi have agreed on the formation of a committee that is to draw up a new constitution for the war-torn country. Russia, which is a close ally of President Assad, convened the talks. Important opposition groups boycotted the meeting. Commentators from Russia and Turkey sketch out potential developments after the conference.
Syria needs a Yasser Arafat
Syria needs a moderate national leader now, the pro-government daily Star stresses:
“The Syrian opposition's biggest weakness is that in the seven years since the war began it hasn't managed to produce a 'national leader'. ... Syria needs a new Yasser Arafat, someone who everyone can agree on to talk in the name of the Syrian opposition, and who can also become a partner for dialogue at the international level. If we [the Turks] don't watch out first Moscow, and if Moscow doesn't react quickly enough, Washington too will produce such a figure. We must be clear that the names these two states propose will be less close to Turkey than to other players in the region like Iran or Israel.”
Sochi doesn't mean the end of Geneva
The success of the congress in Sochi doesn't render the Geneva talks format obsolete, Ria Novosti explains:
“Because firstly Moscow (unlike Iran and Turkey) is not against taking the interests of external players in Syria into account: the Kremlin wants to create a genuine balance of power there. And secondly, reconstructing Syria will require billions in investment - resources which none of the countries participating in the Astana Process [Russia, Turkey and Iran] possess. ... The US and the EU, on the other hand, are willing to invest money if in return their interests on the Syrian chessboard are taken into account and their people form part of a new Syrian government.”