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Russia Upset with Damascus’ Decision to ‘Fail’ Constitutional Committee Talks

Russia Upset with Damascus’ Decision to ‘Fail’ Constitutional Committee Talks

Tuesday, 26 October, 2021 - 10:15
Russia’s special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev attends a meeting during consultations on Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 11, 2018. (Reuters)

In contrast to previous rounds of the Syria Constitutional Committee talks in Geneva, the Russian President’s Special Envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, avoided blaming the Syrian opposition for the meetings failing to kickstart the drafting of a new constitution for the war-torn country.

The Syrian government “failed” the recent round of talks on purpose, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may no longer be in total control of the situation, Russian sources revealed.

More so, they said that Lavrentiev’s new approach of steering blame away from the opposition signaled a severe warning against irreversibly damaging the talks in Geneva.

Moscow did not issue a statement after the end of the recent round of talks and avoided giving an official assessment about the party responsible for their failure, paving the way for the opposition and West to accuse Damascus.

“It is difficult to blame the failure of the round of talks on the Damascus bombing, especially in light of the great efforts made by Moscow to make this round a success,” Russian diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Bombs had hit a military bus in the city center of Damascus on Wednesday, killing 14 government soldiers.

Sources spoke of “widespread disappointment in Moscow, which had bet for a long time on the success of this round and sent the special presidential envoy to Damascus just before it to urge Assad to show the greatest possible flexibility.”

“The regime is responsible for the bombing that took place in Damascus,” said Rami al-Shaar, an advisor close to decision-making circles in the Syria file.

Al-Shaar blamed Damascus for not assuming the needed responsibility for the return of state institutions to their regular work and for intentionally aborting the sixth round of Constitutional Committee talks in Geneva.

“It became known to all parties, including the UN, that some members of the Syrian government delegation received instructions from Damascus not to agree to anything and to prevent any progress in the work of the Committee’s small body,” said al-Shaar.

The Constitutional Committee has a large and a small body: The large body comprises 150 members: 50 members of the government, 50 of the opposition, and 50 of civil society. The small body includes 45 members: 15 members for each party.

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