US in Hurry to Establish Syria’s Constitutional Committee
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to hold a meeting on Thursday in New York with his counterparts from the so-called “small group” to discuss the next steps for Syria and a final statement related to the establishment of the country’s Constitutional Committee.
A similar meeting was held Wednesday between a Russian delegation and Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria who is urging the launch of a constitutional committee for Syria as soon as next month.
Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat said that following their meeting Thursday, members of the small group are expected to call on de Mistura to hold a meeting of the constitutional committee as soon as possible, in order to present results of their discussions before Oct. 31.
Therefore, western countries and their allies are trying to put pressure on Iran, Russia and Turkey, the three guarantor states, to agree on the committee’s principles and activities, in addition to naming its head and the shares of each party.
The small group includes Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, France, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
An agreement on a constitutional committee in Syria was reached at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 30.
De Mistura already said this committee should not have more than 50 members and that it will be tasked to work out recommendations on amendments to the Syrian constitution.
Following those amendments, general elections will be held in Syria under the UN auspices.
During their meeting with de Mistura last Sept. 10, guarantor states did not seem in a hurry to establish Syria’s constitutional committee, particularly that Moscow and Ankara were still waiting for the outcome of their agreement signed on September 17 in Sochi and which stipulates that heavy weapons should be withdrawn from Idlib by October 10 and that “terrorist groups” will be removed by October 15.
Meanwhile, international lawyers sent to de Mistura 10 conditions for contributing to Syria’s reconstruction efforts, including the non-support of ethnic and sectarian cleansing and the launching of reforms at the security and judicial levels.