UN envoy, Russian FM hope Syrian constitution committee will resume work again soon

Russia has previously advocated for Kurdish rights in any new Syrian constitution.

ERBIL – (Kurdistan 24) - The United Nations Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both separately expressed their hopes on Saturday that the Syrian constitution committee will resume work on drafting a new constitution for that country.

Pedersen, a Norwegian diplomat, was in the Syrian capital Damascus on Saturday. He had "very substantial, very good discussions" with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad on "the economic and humanitarian challenges here in Syria" and "what we all can do to help improve that situation," AFP reported.

He also expressed his hope that the constitutional committee would "move forward" with the sixth round of talks on a new post-war constitution.

The Syrian constitutional committee, sponsored by the UN, comprises three delegations, each consisting of 15 people representing the government, the opposition, and the country's civil society, respectively. It was established in September 2019. Its last session was held in Geneva last January.

Pedersen described that last session, the committee's fifth, as "a missed opportunity and disappointment."

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed similar hopes that the constitutional committee will have more sessions as soon as possible, Russia's TASS News Agency reported early on Sunday.

"We have informed our counterparts about our work through bilateral channels with Damascus, in the Astana format with participation of Turkey and Iran, as well as the Geneva venue, where we expect that the work of the constitution committee will resume in the foreseeable future with participation of the government and opposition delegation," Lavrov said at a press conference with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Russia has previously advocated for Kurdish rights in any new Syrian constitution.

In 2019, Lavrov said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government should rule over all of Syria "with the understanding that Kurds should be provided for in their traditional places of residence."

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq's autonomy was enshrined in neighboring Iraq's constitution back in 2005. 

In 2017, Moscow produced a draft Syrian constitution that, among other things, promoted Kurdish language rights and even suggested changing the official name of the country from the 'Syrian Arab Republic' to the 'Syrian Republic' in light of the various ethnic minorities who live there, such as the Kurds.