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UN doubts legitimacy of a number of candidates for Syrian Constitutional committee

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura also expressed concern about the recent statements saying that pressure has been put on some candidates and their families

UN, December 20. /TASS/. The UN has doubts about the legitimacy of a number of candidates to the Syrian constitutional committee proposed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council on a political settlement in Syria

"The United Nations, having examined the names, assessed that we would not feel comfortable yet giving the UN stamp of legitimacy to all 50 of them as meeting the necessary criteria of credibility and balance-hence the need for going an extra-mile," he said.

De Mistura recalled that on Tuesday he had a meeting in Geneva with the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey.

"The three Foreign Ministers offered the United Nations a significant joint input regarding the constitutional committee. That significant joint input comprised 50 names, drawing partly from my own suggestions, as their proposal for the Middle Third of the constitutional committee," he said.

The UN special envoy also expressed concern about the recent statements saying that pressure has been put on some candidates for the constitutional committee and their families. According to him such methods if such reports are true is inadmissible.

Syrian constitutional committee

On January 30, participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, decided to establish a constitutional committee that would work on the country’s new constitution. The committee is supposed to include representatives of the Syrian government and opposition, as well as civil society members. Each of the groups will have one-third of seats in the committee. The UN envoy earlier suggested that the committee should consist of no more than 50 members.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the three guarantors of the Astana process (Russia, Iran and Turkey) - Sergey Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu - held a meeting with de Mistura in Geneva but failed to finalize a list of Syrian constitutional committee members. However, the parties announced plans to call the first meeting of the committee in early 2019.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he did not understand de Mistura’s wait-and-see position on the formation of a list of the Syrian constitutional committee.