BREAKING NEWS President approves federal aid to help with April storm recovery Full Story
WEATHER AUTHORITY : Heat Advisory View Alerts

Russia's Lavrov heckled as Syria peace talks in Sochi crumble

A Russia-engineered peace conference aimed at bringing together warring factions in Syria has been fruitless, with th...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 11:32 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 11:32 PM

A Russia-engineered peace conference aimed at bringing together warring factions in Syria has been fruitless, with the main opposition figures snubbing the talks and those who did attend walking out.

Opposition members who took part in the conference at the Black Sea resort of Sochi heckled Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday during his speech before the walkout, video posted online by the Foreign Ministry shows.

Organizers of the summit had hoped the talks would lead to a new draft constitution for Syria and bring an end to sanctions imposed on the state.

A final statement said the Syrian National Dialogue Congress "affirmed respect and full commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria," according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

"The State is committed to national unity, social peace and comprehensive and balanced development with fair representation at the local administration level," the statement said. "Boosting the work of governmental and public institutions, protecting the infrastructure of private properties and society, and providing public services to all citizens in accordance with the high standards of management and gender equality."

Russia is the most powerful ally of President Bashar al-Assad and his government. Along with Turkey and Iran, it is pursuing its own peace process for Syria while the UN backs a separate plan.

Russia has faced questions over its role as peacemaker. Western countries, including the US, France and Britain, have all boycotted the Russian-brokered talks and back the UN plan.

Read: Nikki Haley says Russia is complicit in Syrian atrocities

In a statement released Sunday, Nasser Al Hariri, who represents a separate umbrella group of Syrian political opponents as well as opposition fighters, said the High Negotiation Committee would not attend, instead maintaining a commitment to the UN-backed process.

Airport protest

Other Syrian opposition members based in Turkey staged a protest, refusing to leave the Sochi airport on arrival when they saw pictures of the Syrian flag. The members delegated Turkey to represent them in the negotiations.

"The opposition delegation representatives came to Sochi from Ankara to push the peace process and to reach a serious political transition that turns Syria to a democracy and ensures that Syrians have their freedom and dignity in a peaceful environment throughout the country," Ahmad Touma, leader of the delegation, told reporters at the airport.

"But we were surprised that none of the promises made has been fulfilled. The barbaric shelling of civilians has not stopped. The regime flags were not removed from the conference banner and logo.

"We stayed at the airport refusing to enter under the regime flags and banners and due to the lack of diplomatic decency from the host country. This is why we have decided not to participate in the Sochi conference and are boycotting it and will be returning to Ankara."

Following the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy to Syria, agreed to establish a constitution commission composed of delegates elected at the forum and representatives who didn't attend the talks, according to Russia's state-run Sputnik news outlet.

"This new structure -- the constitutional committee for the preparation of the Syrian constitution -- will operate in Geneva," Lavrov said, according to Sputnik.

The minister added, "The Congress approved the statement on the foundations and principles of the future national-state structure in Syria. These principles are not revolutionary, these are the key norms of international law -- respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Syria, ensuring the rights of all ethnic and confessional groups, ensuring the political process that will leave no one behind, and which will allow the Syrians themselves to determine their own destiny, without any outside interference."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 94°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 102°
Oxford
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 87°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 95°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather