DAMASCUS, September 7. /TASS/. The issue of presidential elections in Syria in a matter of the country’s government and has nothing to do with the work on a new constitution, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"The issue of elections in Syria is a matter of the Syrian government. And until a new constitution is elaborated or the existing one is amended, the current constitution remains in force as it is," he told a news conference after his visit to Damascus.
Commenting on a possibility of establishing an interim government for a period until a new constitution is adopted, the Russian top diplomat recalled that "there were attempts to discuss this topic within the United Nations under the direction of (former United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria) Staffan de Mistura."
"At a certain point, without any coronavirus infection, they suddenly announced a ‘negotiations quarantine’ for a term of ten months and did nothing at all," he said. "The Astana format was set up in a bid to bring this situation out of the utter dead end it had been driven to. A year later, the Syrian National Dialogue Congress was established at the Astana format’s initiative. The Congress was supported by all Syrians and set a priority task of establishing a constitutional committee we now have."
"We should let it (the committee) work normally," Lavrov stressed.
Earlier on Monday, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallen said that presidential elections in Syria would be held in 2021 in line with the current constitution. He also said that all the recommendations on amendments to the Syrian constitution, as well as possible text of the new constitution that would be approved by the Constitutional Committee would be later put for nationwide voting at a referendum.