Nasr Hariri to Asharq Al-Awsat: Efforts to Finalize Syria’s Constitutional Committee by Sept. 20
Head of the High Negotiations Committee (SNC) Nasr al-Hariri on Wednesday revealed ongoing efforts to announce Syria’s constitutional committee before a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20.
Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat that Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pederson is currently in Tehran and would later visit Ankara to resolve disputes on the committee’s last six members.
“We have clear criteria on the selection of the six names, who must be neutral - neither loyal to the Syrian regime nor to the opposition - and part of the component of the Syrian people,” he said.
Hariri explained that concerned parties have agreed on more than 95 percent of the procedures for announcing the committee.
However, he said “the biggest problem remains in discussing the constitution itself.”
Hariri said the international community, including the US, Russia, EU, Turkey and Arab countries, seek to complete the establishment of the constitutional committee, which should be followed by other steps that would speed up Syria’s political process.
However, he accused the Syrian regime of maneuvering to prevent the launch of the constitutional path.
“The Syrian regime seeks to obstruct the political process by introducing amendments to the current constitution, a process that violates UN Security Council decisions,” he said.
Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow have agreed on a proposal to form the constitutional committee at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi.
The 150-member committee will be tasked with drafting a constitution for post-war Syria with an aim to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the country as soon as possible.
The regime and the opposition have finalized their 50 candidates. However, the list that includes the names of civil society and religious groups is not finalized yet.
Last month, Geir Pederson said the UN might announce an agreement to establish the constitutional committee before the UN General Assembly session.
Hariri said that Pederson is currently leading efforts to bring an agreement between participants of the Astana Talks on Syria (Russia, Iran, Turkey) and members of the so-called Small Group (the UK, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the US and France) by finding a common vision between the two parties to support the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254.
However, he said, there are still some obstacles related to Iran, which is playing a negative role in the region, including Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Hariri accused Tehran of supporting terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and other militias in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen and on disrupting a political solution in Syria.