'Work on Syrian constitution commission at key phase'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says there is no problem over names for commission given by regime and opposition

'Work on Syrian constitution commission at key phase'

By Sena Guler


Work on a commission to revise the Syrian constitution has come to an important phase, said Turkey's foreign minister on Tuesday after a meeting on Syria in Geneva.

“There is no problem regarding the lists of the [Syrian] regime and the opposition for the constitutional commission,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters following a trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of guarantor countries -- Iran, Russia and Turkey -- and UN Special Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura at the UN offices.

He said that guarantor countries of the Astana process and the UN are working together on the names that civil society had suggested for the commission.

Cavusoglu added that they also discussed the commission's procedural rules, and they are close to a concluding this.

He said the three countries would step up their efforts to see the commission formed “as soon as possible”.

“We foresee the first meeting of this commission in the first month of next year,” he said.

He added: “Today’s meeting is a sign of how important the Astana and Sochi process is for a political solution in Syria and that it has begun to produce concrete results.”

Turkey will continue contributing to the process as an important actor, he said.

In a final declaration, the ministers “reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity” of Syria and called on all sides to respect those principles.

During a Syrian peace conference this January in Sochi, Russia, participants agreed on the formation of a commission to develop recommendations to amend the Syrian constitution.

Last Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia, Turkey and Iran will present a list of candidates for the commission to the UN. 

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

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