Russia, Turkey and Iran failed to make any concrete progress in setting up a Syrian constitutional committee at a meeting in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on November 28th. Reuters cited the office of UN Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, as saying, “Special Envoy de Mistura deeply regrets ... there was no tangible progress in overcoming the ten-month stalemate on the composition of the constitutional committee.” De Mistura’s office added, “This ... has, sadly for the Syrian people, been a missed opportunity to accelerate the establishment of a credible, balanced and inclusive, Syrian-owned, Syrian-led, UN-facilitated constitutional committee.”
As part of UN-mandated political initiatives to end Syria’s war, the country’s constitution is supposed to be reformed and new elections held. But Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria rejected UN involvement in picking the members of the committee to make the changes and the process has been in deadlock since January.
The US State Department said it was vital to convene the constitutional committee and accused Russia and Iran of continuing, “to use the process to mask the Assad regime’s refusal to engage in the political process,” referring to Assad’s refusal to allow UN involvement in the constitutional committee.