Tehran hopes to reach agreement with Russia, Turkey on Syria

December 18, 2018

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday he hoped to reach an agreement with Russia and Turkey on the composition of a new Constitutional Committee in Syria, Reuters reported.

Zarif, arriving at the United Nations in Geneva for talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, hosted by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, was asked whether he expected a deal to be reached. “I hope so,” Zarif told reporters.

The meeting between the foreign ministers of the three countries, who launched the Astana peace process to end the Syrian conflict, and the UN diplomat could pave the way for the drafting of a new constitution and for elections after a nearly eight-year-old devastating war in Syria.

The United Nations said in a statement on Friday that the Geneva talks will focus on setting up a “credible, balanced, and inclusive” committee to draft a new constitution for Syria and usher in elections.

It added that the meeting will take place ahead of de Mistura's monthly presentation to the UN Security Council set for December 20.

The UN-backed constitutional committee will include 50 members chosen by Damascus, 50 by the opposition and 50 by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has asked Iran and Russia to “stop the interference of some Western states” as Syria is setting up a committee tasked with negotiating a new post-war constitution. 

Assad stressed the importance of “efforts exerted by the friendly and allied countries of Syria, particularly Iran and Russia” as he met Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior adviser to the Iranian foreign minister, in Damascus on Sunday.  

MH/PA

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