Plans to help start rebuilding Syria after seven years of civil war are to be discussed at a Russian-sponsored peace conference in Sochi on Monday and Tuesday.
The event is being boycotted by the official Syrian opposition and the main Syrian Kurdish groups but will be attended by the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who exlained his reasons for taking part:
"I took note of the statement by the Russian Federation that the outcome of the congress would be brought to Geneva as a contribution to the intra-Syrian talks process and the auspices of the UN," he said.
The Sochi peace conference is the latest move towards ending the civil war in which Russia hopes to be seen as the peacemaker.
More than 1,000 delegates are expected to endorse a statement asking the west to lift sanctions in order to help the process of reconstructing Syria.