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Sochi Statement: Syrian Army to Be Brought Under Constitution

Sochi Statement: Syrian Army to Be Brought Under Constitution

Tuesday, 23 January, 2018 - 07:30
Destruction in Syria. (AFP)

A draft paper to be issued at the end of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due in Sochi next week stipulates the need to form a “national army brought that operates under the constitution” and that the security apparatus abide by the “human rights law.”

The paper also calls on the Syrian regime to stress “national unity” and provide “a just representation of the self-administrated authorities.”

Asharq Al-Awsat received on Monday a copy of the declaration written by Moscow.

According to how Russia sees a solution in Syria, the Sochi Congress is expected to lead to the establishment of three committees: a presidential committee for the Congress, a special committee for constitutional reforms and a committee for elections and the registration of voters.

The meeting is scheduled for January 29 and 30.

Moscow was also keen that its draft paper be based on the 12 political principles previously presented by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva last November.

De Mistura had then published 12 principles for a future Syria that he handed to both regime and opposition delegations. His principles stipulate that the country “shall be democratic and non-sectarian.”

A western official said on Monday: “It will be difficult for Damascus to reject the Sochi principles.”

He added that Moscow wanted to include the 12-point principles in its Sochi declaration to secure the attendance of de Mistura at the congress after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had set a series of conditions for the UN to attend the meeting.

According to the draft paper, members attending the Syrian Congress in Sochi could reach 1,600 participants who “represent the entire factions of the Syrian community and the different political, civil, ethnic, religious and social forces.”

Meanwhile, talks held between High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Naser al- Hariri and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday evening, are expected to play a decisive role concerning the group’s participation at the Sochi Congress, particularly in the presence of objections voiced by Syrian armed factions.

Before meeting with Lavrov, al-Hariri had avoided receiving an official invitation to the Congress.

Earlier, Syrian opposition groups said they would attend the UN-sponsored Vienna talks next Thursday and Friday. The talks are part of the Geneva negotiations and will this time around be held in the Austrian capital.

The Vienna meeting will constitute a test for Moscow to text its authorities on Damascus and its capacity to achieve a “constitutional breakthrough” ahead of the Sochi meeting.

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