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Russian envoy calls for engaging constructive powers to work on Syria’s constitution

There are many difficulties along this path, the diplomat warned

GENEVA, February 26. /TASS/. The UN should attract constructive powers that are concerned about their country’s fate and not just momentary interests to work on Syria’s new constitution, said Gennady Gatilov, the Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

"We believe that the UN should display wisdom, in addition to political will, and undertake efforts to engage truly constructive powers, which are concerned about their country’s fate and not about some fleeting self-seeking interests, in the process of work on the new constitution," he noted.

Gatilov reiterated that the process of hammering out a constitutional commission has already been launched and that three peace underwriters in Syria - Russia, Turkey and Iran - are in close contact on this issue. "The selection of candidates who will take part in the committee’s activity is underway. I hope that this work will be wrapped up soon," the diplomat said.

There are many difficulties along this path, the diplomat said. "We see that that a certain part of the Syrian opposition - the most radical one - still clings to unacceptable positions that come down to preconditions for starting talks with the government delegation, the chief one being the demand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down," he explained.

"We believe that in this sense [UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy] Staffan de Mistura should have taken a closer look into the opposition group that displays a constructive approach," the head of the Russian diplomatic mission noted, adding that "this is a moderate opposition shaped from the outcome of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi." The issue primarily concerns the platform of Haytham Manna, Qadri Jamil, Randa Kassis and Ahmad Jarba.

"These representatives, who played a constructive role in the Sochi forum, are ready for concentrated work on the constitution issue in order that its outcome reflects the interests of all groups and components of Syrian society, and not some narrow migrant opposition group who, by the way, has lost touch with their ‘land in many ways, that is with those who are on Syria’s territory," Gatilov concluded.