Syria op­po­si­tion re­jects Sochi con­sti­tu­tion plan

The Miracle - - Ational & Int -

Par­tic­i­pants of a Rus­sia-hosted con­fer­ence for peace in Syria have agreed to set up a com­mis­sion to re­write the war-torn coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion. Staffan de Mis­tura, United Na­tions Spe­cial En­voy for Syria, said on Tues­day that del­e­gates at the two-day con­fer­ence at the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi, agreed to in­clude both govern­ment and op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials in the 150-mem­ber com­mit­tee. De Mis­tura said the fi­nal agree­ment on the com­mit­tee would be reached in the UN-led diplo­matic process in Geneva based on UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2254 - which serves as a frame­work for po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion in Syria. But the fate of Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad - a key stick­ing point that has re­peat­edly caused on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to fail - was not men­tioned in the fi­nal state­ment. Syria’s ma­jor op­po­si­tion groups, who boy­cotted the event, re­jected the pro­posal. The main op­po­si­tion bloc - the Syr­ian Ne­go­ti­a­tion Com­mis­sion (SNC) - ac­cused As­sad and Rus­sia, Syria’s prin­ci­ple ally, of con­tin­u­ing to use mil­i­tary might and show­ing no in­ter­est in en­ter­ing into hon­est ne­go­ti­a­tions. “We re­ject the es­tab­lish­ment of any con­sti­tu­tional com­mis­sion at this stage,” said Maya Al­rahibi, spokes­woman for the SNC. In­stead, the bloc wants the govern­ment and the op­po­si­tion to set up a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ing body first, she told Al Jazeera. “Dur­ing this tran­si­tional stage in­side Syria, a con­sti­tu­tional com­mis­sion can be set up con­sist­ing of mem­bers se­lected to rep­re­sent all of the Syr­ian peo­ple,” she said. “The con­sti­tu­tional com­mis­sion will then draft a new con­sti­tu­tion that shall be ap­proved after putting it to a vote in a ref­er­en­dum that is con­ducted fairly and trans­par­ently.” Hisham Mar­wah, a lawyer for the Syr­ian Coali­tion, a Turkey-based op­po­si­tion group, said a “neu­tral and safe en­vi­ron­ment” in Syria was re­quired for the writ­ing of and vot­ing on a new con­sti­tu­tion. “We don’t have that,” he said. “There are tanks rolling in the streets in Syria right now.” He added that the Sochi agree­ment vi­o­lated past UN res­o­lu­tions as well as a roadmap for peace set out by the US, Rus­sia, China, France and some Arab coun­tries in­clud­ing Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar in 2012, all of which called for the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­clu­sive tran­si­tional gov­ern­ing body to re­form the con­sti­tu­tion. “We must go through the process one step at a time, as stated in the Geneva com­mu­nique and the UN res­o­lu­tions,” he said. With­out the op­po­si­tion’s buy in, the Sochi agree­ment would not help end Syria’s war, other an­a­lysts said. Charles Lis­ter, an an­a­lyst with the US-based Mid­dle East In­sti­tute, said the con­fer­ence was “Rus­sia’s way of show­ing that it can pull to­gether the broad spec­trum of pro-regime and ac­cept­ing-of-the-regime po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Syria”. How­ever, with­out the op­po­si­tion’s in­volve­ment in large num­bers, “then we’re not talk­ing about ne­go­ti­a­tions, we’re talk­ing about dis­cus­sions. We’re not talk­ing about re­sults, we’re talk­ing about state­ments,” he told Al Jazeera from Wash­ing­ton DC. “Un­til that changes, we’re go­ing to con­tinue to watch many of th­ese dif­fer­ent kinds of con­fer­ences in dif­fer­ent cities, and un­for­tu­nately the cri­sis in Syria will con­tinue.” Source: Al-Jazeera

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