Iran, Russia, Turkey support new Syria constitution body

December 19, The Iran Project – The Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed to  to ramp up efforts aimed at Syrian constitutional committee.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived at the United Nations in Geneva Tuesday (Dec. 18) for talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts on the composition of the Syrian Constitution, hosted by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Earlier, Senior Assistant to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari in a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed the latest developments of establishing the Syrian Constitution Committee.

Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria who steps down on Dec. 31, has tried since January to clinch agreement on the identity of 150 members of a new constitutional committee to revitalise a stalled peace process.

President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition fighting to topple him have each submitted a list of 50 names. But Russia, Iran and Turkey have haggled over the final 50 members from civil society and “independent” backgrounds, diplomats say.

The foreign ministers of the three nations, as guarantors of the Syria peace process, who support opposing sides in Syria’s nearly eight-year-old conflict, held talks in Geneva to seal their joint proposal and sought the United Nations’ blessing for it.

Finally, Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed to step up efforts aimed at convening the first session of a UN-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee early next year in a bid to begin a viable peace process to the country’s years-long conflict.

Sergei Lavrov, reading out a joint statement following meeting with Iranian and Turkish counterparts and the outgoing UN special envoy, said the work of the new body “should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement.”

Lavrov described the meeting as very positive, stressing that Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara are committed to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

The top Russian diplomat added that the three countries support the launch of a Syrian-led political process for the composition of Syria’s inclusive constitution.

In a separate statement, De Mistura thanked Iran, Russia and Turkey for their efforts on setting up a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria, saying that the process is still incomplete.

He added that he and UN secretary general believe that necessary attempts should be made to set up credible, balanced, and inclusive committee.

He further noted that after new consultations with Antonio Guterres, he will present a report to the UN Security Council on Thursday on the process of establishing Constitution committee.

On the same day, the Iranian foreign minister urged the western states to facilitate resolution of the Syrian crisis.

“In Geneva alongside Russian & Turkish counterparts to move fwd on a constitutional committee to resolve Syria crisis. We always insisted on a political solution led and owned by the Syrians. The West has now been compelled to accept this. But it needs to facilitate; not dictate,” Zarif said in a message released on his twitter account.

On Monday (Dec. 17), the US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey said US is no longer seeking to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backtracking on the once strict regime change policy that Washington insisted on, but which has evidently failed to put into effect.