Differences Reported Over Syria Constitution Proposal

UN special envoy’s proposal to form mechanism on Syrian constitution reportedly put on hold as talks continue in Geneva.

The UN special envoy for Syria has temporarily withdrawn a proposal to form a consultative mechanism on the Syrian constitution, Al Jazeera has learnt.

Staffan de Mistura had presented the proposal during the ongoing sixth round of Syria talks that began in Geneva on Tuesday.

He subsequently withdrew the proposal, and it is now on hold awaiting final feedback from the opposition, Issam Rayes, a spokesperson for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and a rebel alliance known as the Southern Front in Syria, told Al Jazeera by phone from the Swiss city on Thursday.

The original proposal recommended that de Mistura’s office, along with legal experts nominated by the opposition and the Syrian government, oversee all legal issues during a transitional phase in the country.

The Syrian opposition delegation objected to the proposal on Wednesday and demanded that changes be made.

In a statement, the HNC said it had a number of concerns regarding the proposal.

It requested clarification on a number of points, including the nature of the authority that the special envoy’s office would have over the country during the transitional phase.

The HNC also requested clarification on how the proposal intended to ensure the cooperation of the Syrian government and the active participation of the Syrian people in the process.

“We [the opposition] submitted legal inquiries after discussing the proposal with legal experts. We will discuss this in the next meeting today,” the HNC’s Rayes told Al Jazeera.

Additionally, the HNC requested clarity on how the countries or legal experts who would take part in shaping Syria’s legal matters during the transitional phase would be selected.

The present round of Syria negotiations is expected to focus on four separate “baskets”: Governance, a new constitution, elections and combating “terrorism” in the country.





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