Syria Accuses Turkey, West of Delaying Constitutional Committee Formation
DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday accused Turkey and Western countries of the delay in the formation of the Syrian constitutional committee.
"It is too early to talk about the start of the constitutional committee's work… The delay in the formation of the commission is caused by the attempts of a number of Western countries to intervene in this process, as well as by obstacles created by Turkey," Muallem said, speaking at Damascus University, as quoted by the Syrian national agency (SANA).
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will report to the UN Security Council on the results achieved on the formation of the constitutional committee on December 20.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that the Syrian constitutional committee would be able to meet in early 2019.
Meanwhile, the United States sees an opportunity this week for either a breakthrough or a complete breakdown in efforts to form a committee to draft reforms to Syria's constitution, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey said during remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC on Monday.
"We're very close to a potential breakthrough or a breakdown this week. We'll find out by Thursday at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria," Jeffrey said, referring to this week's upcoming meeting in which the UN's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will unveil the results of efforts to form the council.
The creation of the committee, which is expected to draft Syria's new constitution, was agreed upon during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian resort city of Sochi in late January. The committee is aimed to develop recommendations and adjustments to the Syrian constitution. The constitutional committee should consist of 150 people, but so far it is formed only by two-thirds.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations.
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