The formation of Syria’s constitutional committee has entered its final stage, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed on February 20.
“On the basis of Sochi conference’s outcomes, the work to provide all the necessary conditions to begin a political process [in Syria] and to form the constitutional committee is now in its final stages,” Lavrov said at a conference in honor of the late Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin, according to RT.
Representatives of the Damascus government, the opposition and local figures agreed to establish a constitutional committee during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which was held in the Russian city of Sochi last year.
The U.N. is supposed to sponsor and oversee the formation of the committee. However, in reality the international organization delayed the work on the committee last year under pressure from the UK, France and Germany, as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin revealed.
The efforts to delay the formation of the committee didn’t stop with the departure of former U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters on February 20 that the U.N delayed the work on the committee once again because it wants to replace several candidates.
“The final lists are being agreed. I am referring in particular to the third part of this committee, which is made up of representatives of the so-called civil society … We are talking about the fact that, according to representatives of the United Nations, it is necessary to find a replacement for six candidates who were initially put on the list,” Sputnik quoted Bogdanov as saying.
These attempts to delay the formation of the constitutional committee could be an example of how some Western powers are trying to use the political process in Syria as a tool to pressure Damascus and even Moscow.