Sochi congress agrees to set up Syrian constitutional commission
Participants of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress have agreed to establish a constitutional commission, which will include delegates elected at the forum, as well as representatives of those groups that did not attend the congress in Sochi.
The final communique of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi includes 12 principles for the Syrian crisis settlement that were worked out within the UN-backed Geneva process, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday.
“[In] the new final declaration today you embraced the 12 principles, developed in the Geneva political process, that describes a vision of Syria that all Syrians should be able to share,” de Mistura said at the closing ceremony of the Congress.
The issue of the new Syrian constitution has long been on the agenda of all major platforms for the Syrian crisis settlement. The UN-backed negotiations in Geneva focus on the four so-called baskets: constitution, elections, governance and counter-terrorism.
“I have heard that you all agreed that the assignment comes to the United Nations to get the Constitutional Committee established. I have also noted that in accordance with the final statement, the Congress supported the list of representatives for the constitutional committee,” de Mistura said at the closing of the congress.
UN Envoy for Syria also said that the constitutional committee agreed on at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress will comprise both the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition activists and thanked the forum for its contribution to the Geneva peace talks.
“I also take note that those of you, who are here, agreed that the constitutional committee will be formed comprising the government of the Syrian Arab Republic along with the wide representation of the opposition delegations for drafting a constitutional reform. It is intended as a contribution, and thank you again, to the political settlement under the UN auspices in accordance with the UNSC resolution 2254,” de Mistura said at the closing ceremony of the Congress.
“You also concluded that the final agreement will be reached in the UN-led Geneva process on the mandate, technical process, powers, rules of procedure and composition of the constitution committee,” de Mistura added.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that “the Congress decided to form a constitutional committee, which will include delegates elected today at the congress and which will additionally include representatives of those groups that for various reasons did not attend today’s forum.”
“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,” Lavrov told reporters.
According to Lavrov, “this result — the creation of a constitutional commission — will now be transferred to the UN in accordance with Resolution 2254”. “This new structure — the constitutional committee for the preparation of the Syrian constitution — will operate in Geneva,” the minister added.
The summit in Sochi brought together over 1,500 delegates from Syria’s government and opposition so that they could exchange their views on the future of the country.