UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract – The U.S. State Department said the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is violating the Syrian Constitutional Committee’s rule of procedure for UN-facilitated talks that had been taking place in Geneva.
The committee was formed in order to bring a wide array of parties to the table to facilitate greater understanding and a unified perspective in order to create a draft for a new constitution for Syria that is slated to include constitutional reforms.
The discussions that began several weeks ago were scheduled to be ongoing and the State Department made it clear in an official statement on Saturday, that the Assad regime cannot continue to delay progress in those talks.
On November 25, the Assad regime delegation left on the first day of the second round of talks.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus made the following comments in a statement: “The requested preconditions from the Assad regime clearly violate the constitutional committee’s rule of procedure, and are a blatant attempt to delay the work of an important effort that is supported by both the Small Group and Astana Group.”
The statement emphasized that a number of other issues must be put forth, including release of detainees, a nationwide ceasefire as well as establishing a safe, neutral environment to hold free and fair elections under the full supervision of the UN.
In addition, the statement made it clear that the Syria Constitutional Committee is not the only path to he pursued under UN Security Council resolution 2254 by the international committee.
The constitutional committee is comprised of a broad swath of Syrian society including the opposition, civil society and regime members.
UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen in a recent press conference, said that discussions were going better than expected and that no deadline would be imposed on the committee talks.
The hope is that discussions in Geneva will ultimately bring about an agreement on a draft for a new constitution slated to include a number of constitutional reforms.
Co-chair of the opposition side on the committee, Hadi Albahra, said: “Since the beginning of the second round, we have made five proposals to the constitutional committee. All five were rejected by the regime. We will continue to present new proposals in order to find a solution.”
According to reports, the Assad regime delegation left after they proposed three new items for the committee agenda that were rejected by representatives of a number of local nongovernmental organizations.
Meanwhile, the UN has not made a statement about the talks that have been at a standstill since the beginning of the week.
Speculation about the regime’s unwillingness to move forward with talks, centers on the need for compromise which experts say the regime most likely is unwilling to do.
Yet, analysts suggest that since Russia has a stake in the process that it may pressure the regime to get on board with the committee.
Pedersen told the press that talks were scheduled to resume on December 2. In light of the new development, it’s unclear whether talks will resume as planned.