Sochi congress agrees to set up Syrian constitutional commission

Russian-backed peace talks endorse future path for Syria, but opposition and Kurds stay away

01 February, 2018

The Iranian deputy foreign minister also held separate meetings with the representatives of the Syrian opposition groups participating the Sochi peace talks on Tuesday. Instead, it asked the Turkish delegation to represent it.

Ansari added that Iran called on Turkey to urge the different opposition groups to attend the conference, however it appeared that Turkey's influence was limited.

The final decision on who will work on the constitutional reform will be taken by United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura.

He emphasized that the achievement at Sochi will be a contribution to the UN-led Geneva process for Syria. The proposal was eventually by Iran and Turkey, guarantors of the Syrian peace process along with Russian Federation.

The main opposition bloc - the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) - accused Assad and Russia, Syria's principal ally, of continuing to use military might and showing no interest in entering into honest negotiations.

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"But we were surprised that none of the promises made has been fulfilled". The regime flags were not removed from the conference banner and logo.

At the congress in the southern Russian city on Monday and Tuesday - including representatives from Syria and the guarantor countries of Russia, Iran, and Turkey - a proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed on.

"In your final declaration today you've embraced 12 principles, developed in the Geneva political process, which describes a vision of Syria, that all Syrians should be able to share".

"This new structure - the constitutional committee for the preparation of the Syrian constitution - will operate in Geneva", Lavrov said, following the meeting.

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