Dr. Nasr al-Hariri, the chairman of the High Negotiating Committee, told us that a conference for independents and the election of new representatives will be held in the next few days.
Hariri told Asharq al-Awsat: “No member of the commission is against continuous rotation and broad representation of all components of the commission, including the independents. Actually, there were proposals within this framework submitted by some independents themselves, but members of the commission called for postponing this."
Hariri attributed the position to several factors: the Constitutional Committee is still in its infancy and the situation in Idlib is deteriorating strongly as the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia belligerently escalate their offensive, leaving behind a catastrophic humanitarian situation in the region.
The head of the Syrian negotiating body stressed that Saudi Arabia has been supporting the Syrian people to realize their legitimate demands and improve the humanitarian situation in the region, providing support to the Syrian opposition in the first and second Riyadh conferences. The Kingdom provided support with regards to both their basic political demands and advocacy of the principles on which the political transition in Syria would manage, and standing behind both negotiating bodies that emerged from the conference. Hariri went on to say that Saudi Arabia plays an important role in the efforts of the limited committee, the international community, and the UN aimed at reaching a political solution, pointing out that “This is also evident from the statement of the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit held in Riyadh a short time ago.”
Intransigence of the Constitution Committee
With regard to the constitutional committee, Hariri said that the second round failed due to the regime's refusal to enter negotiations and the proposed agenda. He went on to say that the UN envoy requested that the delegation set an agenda for the negotiating body before the second round starts, but "the regime put precondition and raised a number of issues that contradict with the framework constitutional committee’s work undermine its authority, obstructing its work”.
He added that, despite all the proposals made by the delegation in subsequent days to remedy the situation, the regime rejected all of this, and thus the round ended without a meeting being held and without any results being reached.
Hariri said: “We heard there will be no new round of meetings for the Constitutional Committee from the Security Council and the UN envoy if no clear agreement on the schedule is agreed upon, in addition to an agreement on the framework and the mandate of the Constitutional Committee, as stipulated by the rules and basic standards for the internal regulations of the Constitutional Committee. We are definitely with them on this. ”
He added: "We fully support the work of the Constitutional Committee, ensuring its success, and preventing any faction from placing obstacles and pitfalls to its work. We hope that the UN envoy can arrive at a constitutional agenda and call for a new round of negotiations as soon as possible. We are well aware of the need to fully implement Security Council Resolution 2254 and all its articles with respect to political transition".
Hariri stressed that the sufficing with the constitutional committee, given the absence of a genuine intention to reach a political solution and from the regime and serious international support, would amount to nothing more a waste of time and would not arrive at the results that the Syrian people hope for. He affirmed that the confidence-building measures and the detainees' issue are "beyond negotiation".
In his opinion, this represents a real test of how serious each of the parties is regarding the issue of finding a political solution in Syria. "Therefore, if a serious intention exists, work on this issue should begin and these detainees, who have been absent in the regime’s prisons for several years, should be released. This is what all Security Council resolutions have stipulated within the framework of dealing with this file."