The make-up of a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria is nearly complete, with almost all members agreed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, adding that Turkey, Russia and Iran will present the draft to the U.N. next week.
The announcement comes after Syria's warring sides and mediators last month failed to agree on the formation of the committee, which is seen as key to ending Syria's seven-year civil war.
Speaking at a news conference in Azerbaijani capital Baku after a ministerial meeting of the Black Sea Economic Council (BSEC), Lavrov said the list of committee members "is almost ready" and that he expects the committee to convene early next year. The list of candidates for the Syrian Constitutional Committee will be presented to U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura next week, he added.
Lavrov said he discussed the issue with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, on the sidelines of Friday's BSEC talks and with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif over the phone last night.
"We already have an understanding that the list on which the government of Syria and opposition, with the assistance of Russia, Turkey and Iran, is almost ready. We will be ready to present this list to U.N. Secretary-General Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on behalf of the Syrian parties at the beginning of next week," he said.
During the Syrian peace conference in late January in Sochi, the formation of a committee to develop recommendations to amend the Syrian constitution was agreed upon. Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to U.N. officials.