All news

Constitutional committee created at Syrian congress in Sochi — Lavrov

The new body will work in Geneva with UN assistance

SOCHI, January 30. /TASS/. Participants of the Syrian National Congress in Sochi have made a decision to establish a constitutional committee, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"During the congress, a decision was made to form a constitutional committee, comprising delegates elected during today’s congress, and also to include representatives of groups who were absent for various reasons," Lavrov said.

A similar announcement was made by UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan De Mistura, who said the council would include delegates from both the Syrian government and the opposition.

"This achievement - the establishment of the constitutional commission - will be forwarded to the UN, in line with resolution 2254, the work of this new structure - the constitutional committee to prepare the Syrian constitution - will be organized in Geneva," the Russian foreign minister said.

"We expect that de Mistura, whom the congress requested to assist the work of this constitutional committee, will organize practical work in full compliance with his credentials under resolution 2254. We expect that he will soon come up with practical ideas of how he plans to do this," Lavrov added.


Statement on principles

A statement laying down basic principles of the future Syrian state and government was also passed in Sochi, Lavrov said.

"During the congress, a statement containing basic principles of the future Syrian state was approved. Those principles are nothing new. Those are the key norms of the international law - respecting sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria; protecting the rights of all ethnic and religious groups; and ensuring that the political process does not leave anyone out and allows Syrians to determine their future on their own, without any interference from abroad," Lavrov said.


No tragedy

Lavrov also said he saw nothing tragic in the absence of two or three groups of Syrian opposition from the Syrian national dialogue congress in Sochi.

"Beyond any doubt, no one expected to gather the representatives of all groups of the Syrian people without exception here the groups that are loyal to the government, neutral or standing in opposition to it," he said.

"But I don't see anything tragic in the fact two or three groups of the opposition failed to come here," Lavrov said.


Unique event

The Russian foreign minister described the forum as a "unique event."

"This congress has set a mission which is broader than that of the Astana process, and, all the more so, way broader than that of the Geneva talks, which involved only members of the external opposition. Here we managed to gather under the same roof delegates of the Syrian government, parliamentarians, ruling party members, external opposition members, and tribal leaders, who play a very important role in Syria’s public life," Russia’s top diplomat said.