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Syrian opposition representatives pledge to develop new constitution as soon as possible

March 09, 2016, 10:31 UTC+3

The final statement of the meeting said that "the main task on the way towards Syria’s political settlement is the joint work on drafting the country’s new constitution"

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. Representatives of the Syrian opposition movements, clergy and armed groups that have established an action group to draft the country’ new constitution have undertaken to complete the work as soon as possible, according to their joint statement adopted on Tuesday at a meeting in Khmeimim where Russia’s Center for the reconciliation of the Syrian warring sides is located.

The meeting was attended, in particular, by representatives of the National Congress for a Secular Syria party, the movement for Democratic Syria and prominent public figures.

"We believe that the main task on the way towards Syria’s political settlement is the joint work on drafting the country’s new constitution, which will ensure the existence and prosperity of a strong, democratic, independent and secular Syria with respect for the rights of every citizen, regardless of his ethno-confessional or religious affiliation", the statement says.

"We commit ourselves to finalizing the draft of a new constitution as soon as possible," the meeting participants said. "We call on all patriotic movements, parties and organizations to join this work and start the restoration of confidence."

Representatives of the Syrian opposition said they intended to take part in the extensive inter-Syrian dialogue under the UN auspices in Geneva, Switzerland, adding that "only the involvement of all the national patriotic forces in the Syrian peace process will create the necessary conditions for the national unification and reconciliation."

"The joint statement of Russia and the United States as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on the cessation of hostilities in Syria is possibly giving the last chance to our people to stop the bloodshed and destruction of the country. The first successes of the fragile truce in our land give cause for cautious optimism. This process must be made irreversible," the meeting participants said.

The ceasefire in Syria came into effect on February 27. The truce does not apply to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra extremist groups (outlawed in Russia) and other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council. The Russia-US Joint Statement, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria of February 22, 2016, reads: "The United States and the Russian Federation together call upon all Syrian parties, regional states and others in the international community to support the immediate cessation of violence and bloodshed in Syria and to contribute to the swift, effective and successful promotion of the UN-facilitated political transition process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the February 11 Statement of the ISSG, the 2015 Vienna statements of the ISSG, and the 2012 Geneva Communique."

On February 23, Russia announced the establishment of the Reconciliation Center at the Khmeimin airbase in the Latakia Province. The US established a similar center in Amman (the capital city of Jordan).

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