De Mistura Says Assad Regime Delays Launch of Constitutional Commission
The UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura accused the Assad regime of obstructing international efforts to reinvigorate the political process through the launch of the work of the Constitutional Committee. He warned that the political process in Syria was facing a "serious challenge."
De Mistura said Friday that Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem rejected the last list of UN-proposed names for the Constitutional Committee and suggested his own method to the final 50 members during talks in Damascus this week.
"Walid Muallem didn't accept a role for the UN in identifying or selecting a third list," the envoy told the UN Security Council by video conference during an emergency session called by the United States.
“We do have a serious challenge, let’s be frank. It is my intention to spare no efforts to address this challenge during the forthcoming weeks,” the UN envoy told the council.
“Minister Moualem did not accept a role for the UN in general in identifying or selecting the ... third list,” de Mistura said. “He underlined that the Syrian constitution is a highly sensitive matter of national sovereignty.”
British UN Ambassador Karen Pierce questioned Russia’s motives in trying to negotiate a political solution given the Assad regime’s efforts to stall a constitutional committee meeting.
“Either Russia has given the UN and this council assurances it has proved too weak to deliver on, or it was all a cynical smokescreen designed to divert attention and energy while Russia, Syria and Iran prosecuted the military campaign,” Pierce told the council.
Official spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, Anas al-Abdah, earlier said that the preconditions set by the Assad regime were aimed at obstructing the work of the Constitutional Committee and emptying it of any meaning.”
"The Assad regime is seeking to invest its meeting with de Mistura in the context of public relations so as not to appear as the side that is putting obstacles,” Abdah said.
Al-Abdah went on to say that the Assad regime was seeking to delay the announcement of the Constitutional Committee for as long as possible, which is a proof it did not want an effective Constitutional Committee under UN auspices. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)