Executive Intelligence Review


Syrian National Dialogue Congress Agrees To Set Up Constitutional Commission

Jan. 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—Despite apparent attempts at sabotage, the 1,510 delegates participating in the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue in Sochi, Russia agreed to establish a constitutional commission, which will include representatives elected at the Congress as well as from groups not in attendance.

“[In] the new final declaration today you embraced the 12 principles, developed in the Geneva political process, that describe a vision of Syria that all Syrians should be able to share,”

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said at the Congress’s closing ceremony, Sputnik reported. De Mistura stated that the delegates agreed that the commission will include members of the government in Damascus as well as “wide representation of the opposition delegations for drafting a constitutional reform.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters afterwards that the Congress “approved the statement on the foundations and principles of the future national-state structure in Syria,” principles which are not revolutionary but rather the norms of international law. According to Lavrov, “this result of the creation of a constitutional commission will now be transferred to the UN in accordance with Resolution 2254.”

The United States, United Kingdom, and France had all also been invited to Sochi as observers, but had all declined to attend, because they saw the Congress as a Russian effort to supplant the Geneva process. This view has clearly been rejected by de Mistura himself, the mediator of the Geneva process.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier sent a message of unity to the conference, which was read out by Lavrov.

“Your forum is called upon to reunite the Syrian people after the armed conflict that lasted nearly seven years, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions of citizens to leave their home country,”

he stressed, reported TASS. “There is a good opportunity to meet the Syrians’ aspirations to end the fratricidal war, fully eradicate terrorism and return to normal life.”

Putin said that Syrians should jointly develop their vision of prospects to overcome the crisis and outline reforms in the country.

“Now all the constructive forces of the Syrian society have a key task of developing a common vision of prospects to overcome the crisis and together outline the reforms that would enable citizens, regardless of their religious, ethnic background and social status, to feel safe and comfortable in their motherland,”

the President said.

At the beginning of the day, Western media reports were portraying a state of chaos in Sochi, particularly with the refusal of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army delegation to leave the airport after seeing posters associating the Congress with Syrian government flags. They decided to return home, leaving a Turkish diplomat to represent them at the Congress.

Qadri Jamil, the leader of the Moscow Platform of the Syrian opposition, told reporters on the sidelines of the Congress that a “campaign of intimidation” was carried out against many of the delegates who attended.

“They exerted pressure on us. When you asked me ‘who,’ I would ask you, who is not interested in the Syrian crisis settlement in a broader sense? There was a campaign of intimidation and threats ahead of the Congress against those who wanted to come here,”

Jamil told reporters, reported Sputnik.