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Syria says US attempting to interfere in drafting of new constitution

The Syrian Foreign Ministry says the United States is attempting to meddle in the process to draft a new constitution for Syria.

In a statement, carried by Syria’s official SANA news agency, an official source at Syria’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that Washington was trying to impose its own agenda on the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

Composed of 50 members from the Damascus government, 50 opposition members, and 50 independent figures chosen by the United Nations (UN), the committee is mandated, within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process, to draft and prepare for popular approval constitutional reforms paving the way for a political settlement in the post-war Arab country.

The statement came a day after the US State Department criticized the Syrian government for the preconditions it requested during the first day of the second round of the constitutional talks in Geneva on November 25.

Damascus’ delegation proposed three new items to be put on the agenda and reportedly left the session when they were not accepted by some representatives of local NGOs. Fighting terrorism, the lifting of sanctions on Syria, and the condemnation of Turkey’s cross-border offensive in northern Syria were the three proposals.

SANA further quoted the Foreign Ministry official as saying that any opinion or statement by the US or any other state was of no value and would not “affect the work of the committee and the nature of its dialogues and its form and content.”

“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic confirms that this dialogue is a Syrian-Syrian one and no one has the right to interfere in it or support any party under any pretext,” the official said.

The official also emphasized that the role of the UN, represented by its Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen, is only limited to facilitating the discussions of the committee.

Damascus has said time and again that the new Syrian constitution is a purely Syrian affair, to be decided by the Syrian people alone without any foreign interference.

Pedersen, too, has stressed the full commitment of the UN to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Arab country.

An agreement was made for the formation of the UN-backed Syrian Constitutional Committee in the Russian town of Sochi last year.

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