Moscow hopes Syrian opposition will attend Russia-backed congress: Ifax

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov talks during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Beirut December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia hopes that all Syrian opposition groups will attend a Moscow-backed Syrian congress in southern Russia on Nov. 18 despite some objections, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Thursday, the Interfax news agency reported.

The event, called the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue, was first mentioned by President Vladimir Putin last month who said he believed that militants in Syria would soon be defeated.

It is due to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

But while Damascus has backed the Russian plan, some opposition groups have rejected the idea, calling it an attempt to rehabilitate President Bashar al-Assad’s government. They have said they will stick to U.N.-brokered Geneva peace talks.

Asked if Moscow still hoped to see opposition groups like the High Negotiations Committee, which has refused to come, attending, Interfax cited Bogdanov as saying:

“We hope that everyone who believes that the fate of the country, its unity, its territorial integrity and its sovereignty are important will participate.”

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn