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Major powers report progress on new Syria constitution body

21 December 2018

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is set to host top diplomats from Iran, Russia and Turkey, as guarantors of the Syria peace process, in Geneva this week.

Without taking questions, Lavrov read out a brief statement saying the three countries believed the committee could start to meet in Geneva early next year and would lead to "a viable and lasting Syrian-owned, Syrian-led, UN-facilitated political process".

Rules of procedure will be developed to ensure the effective and sustainable nature of the committee's work, the Foreign Ministry added.

"The work of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement aimed at reaching general agreement of its members which would enable the outcome to receive the widest possible support by the Syrian people", the statement said.

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The meeting was confirmed by to be joined by foreign ministers of Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation, and is set for Tuesday.

Attempts to establish a 150-member committee comprising of representatives of the government, opposition and civil society have floundered since the plan was first announced at the end of a Russian-sponsored Syria summit in January.

The meeting comes after diplomats from the three countries, who support different sides of the war - now in its eighth year - said on Monday they are close to an agreement to form a committee. There is already agreement on the 50-member delegation from the government and the 50-member delegation from the opposition.

De Mistura is said to be under heavy pressure from the trio of countries to accept the makeup of the constitutional body, but he may leave the decision to United Nations security council in NY on Thursday.

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The opposition has pushed for an entirely new constitution, but the regime has said it will only discuss altering the current one.

"We have reached an important step in our work toward the Syrian constitutional committee", he told reporters.

"We are going to remain engaged with the United Nations and with other parties, including Russian Federation, and we are going to continue to encourage all possible efforts be taken to advance the political track as called for in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254", Palladino said on Tuesday.

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Major powers report progress on new Syria constitution body