Syrian regime blocks ongoing constitutional talks for 3rd day

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 28.11.2019 12:05

The Syrian regime on Wednesday continued blocking Constitutional Committee meetings in Geneva for a third consecutive day.

Hadi Albahra, co-chair of the opposition side on the committee, told reporters that the regime had proposed adding an item to the agenda that fell outside the basic framework of the constitution.

Albahra said then the opposition had made three counter-proposals, all rejected by the regime.

"We are here to discuss constitutional issues, but the regime doesn't accept discussing constitutional issues," he stressed.

The attempts to find a political solution via a constitutional committee are taking place at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva. This has received mounting support from the international community for the most part with many welcoming the launch of talks.

However, the opposition previously accused the regime side of buying time by blocking the talks, currently in their second round.

Ahmad Kuzbari, co-chair of the regime side, said the regime's proposal involved the fight against terror, lifting sanctions and condemning Turkey's counterterrorism Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria.

The regime delegation left the talks Monday after its proposal to add new items to the agenda was rejected by representatives of local nongovernmental organizations.

The second round of talks started Monday; however, since then, the regime delegation has continued to block deliberations.

The regime's uncooperative stance has been clear, and many pundits expect it may quit the talks with confidence gained from military achievements in the field. The main problem for the regime is thought to be the necessity to compromise, perhaps to the point of coming up with a new constitution and eventually giving up existing authority. Yet, pundits also suggest that the presence of Russia as a pressure point may cause the regime to conform with the committee and the process as a whole.

The committee is mandated within the context of a U.N.-facilitated Geneva process to prepare and draft for popular approval constitutional reforms to pave the way for a political settlement in Syria.

From within this 150-member committee, a subcommittee with 45 members is responsible for preparing a draft of the new constitution.

According to the plan, once the draft is ready and proposed to the larger committee, a 75% consensus is needed for it to be approved. The committee is seen as key to paving the way for political reform and free and fair U.N.-supervised elections in the country, where the war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee.

The meeting, with support from powers backing both sides, marks the first political negotiations between the Syrian regime and the oppositions.

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