FRI 29 - 5 - 2020
Date: Apr 26, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Syria constitutional committee 'unclear': Russian negotiator
Agence France Presse
KAZAKHSTAN: Russia's envoy on Syria said Thursday that "several unclear issues" were slowing the formation of a constitutional committee which the United Nations hopes will drive a political settlement for the war-ravaged country.

Speaking at the end of the first day of talks in Kazakhstan with Iran, Turkey and delegations from the Syrian regime and its armed opponents, Russia's Syria negotiator Aleksandr Lavrentyev said the talks over the committee were "complex" but "moving forward."

"We are on a complex path towards forming the constitutional committee. There are some unclear issues," he told reporters.

"(We are) moving forward...I think tomorrow at the plenary session we will be able to put these issues to a general discussion," Lavrentyev said.

Delegations from Iran, Russia and Turkey arrived in Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan seeking an end to the eight-year conflict in Syria while shoring up their interests in the country.

United Nations Syria envoy Geir Pedersen is also participating in the talks.

The constitutional committee is of particular interest to the UN which favors a Syrian-led resolution to the conflict.

Lavrentyev did not mention which problems specifically were stalling its formation.

One Western diplomat told AFP that Moscow will be aware of perceptions that recent rounds of the so-called "Astana process" have made little progress and may look to speed up the committee's formation.

"Even if a Constitutional Committee is created, it will then take a long time to reach a very uncertain result," the diplomat told AFP.

Any proposal would therefore be "low risk" for Moscow, whose military intervention in 2015 has helped Damascus assert control over two-thirds of the country's territory.

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