UN, Turkey, Iran, Russia to talk on Syrian constitution

UN, Turkey, Iran, Russia to talk on Syrian constitution

Monitoring Desk

GENEVA: UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura will meet senior officials from Turkey, Russia, and Iran to establish a Syrian constitutional committee on Monday.

Efforts to establish a constitutional committee, which was agreed during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress on Jan. 30, 2018 in Russian resort city of Sochi, have come to a critical phase.

De Mistura will meet on Monday and Tuesday with the guarantor countries of Astana process — Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

On Friday, he will meet with officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.K., and U.S.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will represent Turkey during the meetings.

Talks on Monday will be closed to press, while Tuesday’s meeting will be official and open to media.

The final declaration of Syria summit held by the guarantor countries in Russia in July highlighted the establishment of a constitutional committee. On July 5, the Syrian Negotiation Commission submitted a list of 50 candidates to represent the Syrian opposition in the constitutional committee to de Mistura, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Also, Turkish President  Erdogan emphasized the significance of forming a constitutional committee following a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Tehran last week.

“Representatives of the three guarantor countries will meet again in Geneva with the UN’s Secretary-General’s special envoy on Syria in the coming days,” Erdogan said on Friday. “The formation process of a constitutional committee will be discussed, and we can say that the preparations have come to the last stage,” he added. “Establishing and making this committee — which is on the agenda thanks to the Astana process — will bring a new dynamism to the political process,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also said they agreed to help in process of establishing the committee. The meeting held under the UN umbrella to end the seven-year-old civil war in Syria consists of four titles including transition, constitution, elections and fight against terrorism.

Berlin weighs joining possible Syria airstrikes: Germany’s Defense Ministry is examining options for joining a possible U.S.-led military operation against Syria, if the regime would further use chemical weapons against civilians, Bild daily reported Monday. The German army Bundeswehr might provide support by deploying Tornado surveillance jets, which are generally used for reconnaissance flights but can also perform airstrikes, the daily reported.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman neither confirmed nor denied the report, but acknowledged that Berlin was holding talks with the U.S. and its European partners on the recent developments in Syria.

“In principle, any military deployment of armed forces abroad must be in line with the Parliamentary Participation Act,” Steffen Seibert told a press conference in Berlin. Germany’s constitution and the Parliamentary Participation Act have been highly restrictive, and only allowed such deployments in the context of the Berlin’s international obligations to the United Nations, the NATO or the European Union. (AA)





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