Moscow and Ankara has agreed to step up work to establish Syria’s Constitutional Committee in cooperation with the UN, the Syrian government and the opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Friday at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following a meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Group, TASS reported.
"We agreed to accelerate the establishment of the Constitutional Committee in cooperation with our UN colleagues, and, of course, being in touch with the Syrian government and the opposition. We are certain that the creation of this committee will finally make it possible to launch the Geneva process our Western and other counterparts are talking about so much," the minister said.
According to Lavrov, Moscow and Ankara see eye to eye on the need to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria and share similar approaches towards the effectiveness of the Astana process. "We see eye to eye on the need to strictly comply with Resolution 2254. We will do our utmost to make sure that this is done effectively, primarily through our efforts as part of the Astana format, which involves Russia, Turkey and Iran. Today, the Astana format actually continues to be the only effective mechanism for tackling numerous issues concerning the Syrian settlement, no matter who and how may try to hinder that process," he emphasized.
The decision to establish the Constitutional Committee was made at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi on January 30, 2018, but this has not been done to date. During the talks with then UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva last December, the Astana trio ( Russia, Iran and Turkey) top diplomats Sergey Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu handed over the list of the committee’s members to him. In their final statement, they expressed the intention to hold the Constitutional Committee’s first meeting at the beginning of 2019, but its composition has not been agreed on because of de Mistura’s stance.