TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – A Syrian constitutional committee made up of government members, civil society and civil society has been finalized after almost two years of negotiations, the United Nations announced.
The 150-member committee, proposed during a peace conference hosted by Russia in January 2018, will rewrite the Syrian constitution.
The long-awaited announcement of the committee’s formation came during a visit to Damascus by the UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, who held talks with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem.
In a statement, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the “Syrian-owned and Syrian-led” constitutional committee will be facilitated by the United Nations in Geneva, and he thanked Russia, Turkey and Iran for their diplomatic efforts,” The Washington Post reported.
During a summit last week between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that agreement had been reached on the makeup of the committee and that it would begin work “as soon as possible in a coordinated manner with the UN”.
“The Syrian government is satisfied with the agreement that was reached; we are optimistic, and we look forward to good work from this committee,” Mohammed Khair Akkam, a Syrian lawmaker and a member of the government’s delegation to the Geneva talks, said Monday.
“We consider the formation of the committee and its launch a step or key toward finding a political solution in Syria, a step toward executing international law,” said Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the main Syrian opposition group, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC).
The constitutional committee will be made up of 50 opposition members, 50 representing the government and 50 representing civil society.
After eight years of conflict, the bulk of Syria has returned under the army’s control, with various opposition groups holding parts of the northwest and US-backed Kurdish groups holding the northeast.
Earlier Monday, Kurds in northern and eastern Syria issued a statement rejecting the constitutional committee, saying Kurds had been sidelined in the process.
“The absence of any side means the absence of democracy in the constitution,” the statement said.
Akkam, the Syrian lawmaker, dismissed the criticism. “Those who are acting at the behest of the Americans do not get to complain about their lack of representation,” he said.