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Iran Press TV

UN envoy says only Syrians entitled to make decision on constitution

Iran Press TV

Mon Oct 28, 2019 04:12PM

Special Envoy of the United Nations for Syria Geir Pedersen says only the Syrian people are entitled to make a decision about their country's draft constitution and determine the fate of their country.

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Pedersen added that the constitution belongs to the Syrian people and the United Nations would play a limited role to facilitate its work.

He emphasized that the committee in charge of discussing the constitution should focus its work on respecting Syria's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

"The committee's work is based on basic principles that include respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria in accordance with the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution No. 2254, in a way that contributes to finding a political solution to the crisis," Pedersen said.

The UN envoy noted that the committee's meetings would open next Wednesday with the participation of 150 members while the discussions would start next Friday and then there will be a small committee of 45 members.

Pedersen said that there will be no international attendance in the first meeting of the committee, adding that he, along with two of his assistants, is scheduled to represent the UN in the committee's meetings.

UN envoy says to meet Turkey, Iran, Russia FMs in Geneva

The UN envoy also announced that he plans to meet the Iranian, Turkish and Russian foreign ministers in Geneva on Tuesday, a day ahead of the first session of Syria's constitutional committee.

He added that he would hold talks with Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif, Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu and Russia's Sergei Lavrov in the Swiss city before the 150-member Syrian panel convenes under the UN auspices.

"We do believe that the fighting going on is just another proof of how important it is to get a serious political process under way that can help sorting out the problems in all of Syria, including the northeast and also Idlib," Pedersen told reporters.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced on September 23 the creation of a constitutional committee on Syria that could pave the way for a political solution to the country's eight-year conflict.

"I firmly believe that the launching of a Syrian-organized and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee can be the beginning of a political path towards a solution," Guterres said.

Later on September 29, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the Damascus government does not accept any foreign interference in the work of a constitutional committee on Syria, which will include members of President Bashar al-Assad's government and foreign-sponsored opposition representatives.

"When an article or two of any standing constitution are amended, it becomes a new constitution. It will be subjected to a referendum. We didn't only speak about discussing the current constitution, and we don't exclude discussing a new constitution as these are the rules of procedures ... We are committed to them, thereby, before going to a new constitution, we should discuss the current one, which has witnessed a popular approbation after a referendum," Muallem said in an exclusive interview with Russia's RT Arabic television news network.

In a meeting with Pedersen in Tehran in September, the Iranian foreign minister said the United States is throwing a wrench in efforts to form the UN-backed constitutional committee in Syria, which would seek to pave the way for a political solution to the Arab country's eight-year conflict.

Last year, an agreement was made in the Russian town of Sochi for the formation of the UN-backed constitutional committee composed of 50 members from the incumbent Damascus government, 50 opposition members, and another 50 independent figures chosen by the UN.

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