Moscow: Constitutional Committee delegates to meet in March, No imminent visit for al-Assad

The special envoy of the Russian president to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev (Sputnik)

The special envoy of the Russian president to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev (Sputnik)

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The special envoy of the Russian president to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, stated that the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC) may hold a meeting in March, denying the organization of an imminent visit for the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, to Moscow.

During an interview with the Russian news agency TASS on Monday evening, January 29, Lavrentiev clarified that the venue for the potential meeting may be chosen by mid or late February, explaining that there is a need for more settlements regarding logistics, such as accommodation and hosting, and this usually takes from two to three weeks, so the meeting is expected to take place in March.

The Russian official pointed out that after Oman’s withdrawal from the race to host the talks, alternative locations are currently being considered, and coordination will take place with the UN special envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, while Damascus studies the most acceptable options.

Pedersen is scheduled to visit Damascus in the second half of February to discuss issues related to convening the Constitutional Committee meeting.

The committee held its last session in March 2022, which was the seventh round, and a new round of meetings was planned before Russia objected to Geneva continuing to host the committee meetings, as Switzerland lost its status as a neutral party, according to the Russian perspective influenced by Switzerland’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a previous statement to Enab Baladi, the head of the Syrian opposition delegation to the Astana talks, Ahmad Toma, explained that one of the topics seriously discussed during the 21st round was the resumption of the Constitutional Committee’s work, indicating that there are some obstacles, but the severity of the fundamental differences on this issue has become less, and Pedersen will conduct visits to resolve this issue with the concerned parties.

On August 15, 2023, the final statement issued after the meeting of the Arab Ministerial Liaison Committee regarding Syria in Cairo, confirmed the necessity of holding the next meeting of the Constitutional Committee  in the Sultanate of Oman before the end of the current year, with consensus on the importance of seriously completing the process, as it is one of the main axes on the path to ending the “crisis” and achieving the desired settlement and “national reconciliation”.

No imminent visit for al-Assad to Moscow

The special envoy of the Russian president to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, ruled out an imminent visit of the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, to Russia.

“At this stage, there may not be a particular need for a meeting,” he said, considering that al-Assad’s presence in Syria is “currently necessary” for a quick solution to all emerging challenges, particularly those in the social and economic spheres.

Since the beginning of the revolution in Syria in 2011, al-Assad has made five visits to Russia, the most recent on March 14, 2023.

Unlike his previous visits to Russia, al-Assad was officially received at Vnukovo International Airport, in accordance with Russian protocol for receiving presidents.

 

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