MESOP Syria Daily: “US & Russia Drafting New Constitution”

by Scott Lucas  – 9 April 2016 – eaworldview – Seeking a political resolution of Syria’s five-year crisis, Russia and the US are drafting a new constitution, according to three Western and Russian diplomats.A Western diplomat said the joint efforts are at an early stage, with Moscow’s current proposals closer to the Assad regime’s position, said one Western diplomat.US Secretary of State John Kerry said after talks in the Kremlin on March 24 that the U.S agreed with Russia on a target of August to create a framework for a political transition and a draft constitution.

The opposition-rebel group expressed its opposition to a process for a new constitution that is led by Washington and Moscow.

“The Syrian constitution belongs to the Syrian people, not the U.S. or Russia,” said spokeswoman Farah al-Atassi. “When we form the transitional governing body with full executive powers, we will appoint Syrian lawyers, judges and experts to draft a new constitution.”

In November, the International Syria Support Group declared a process for a transitional governing authority within six months. This would lead to internationally-supervised elections under a new constitution a year later. However, talks in Geneva have been slow to advance, with the opposition-rebel HNC and the regime delegation have yet to meet face-to-face. In late March, President Assad rejected any transitional authority, a centerpiece of international efforts since 2012.

The negotiations, brokered by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, are scheduled to resume on April 13.