Russia, Turkey and Iran are working to make sure a Syrian constitutional commission will convene in early 2019, according to a joint statement Tuesday by the three countries, and as voiced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.
After meeting in the Astana format at the UN offices, the countries’ foreign ministers reaffirmed their determination to help the commission begin by elaborating common guidelines through cooperation with the Syrian parties and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, the statement said.
The foreign ministers “expressed their conviction that these steps will lead to the launch of a viable and lasting Syrian-led, Syrian-owned and UN-facilitated political process in line with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi and UN Security Council resolution 2252,” it said.
They also gave de Mistura names for inclusion on the commission.
The three foreign ministers reaffirmed their “strong commitment” to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity” of Syria, the statement said.
“The work of the constitutional commission should be based on a sense of compromise and constructive participation aimed at reaching a general agreement of the members, which would allow the results to get the widest possible support from the Syrian people,” Lavrov told reporters in Geneva.
For his part, de Mistura said there is "an extra mile to go" in the Syria "marathon."
He praised the efforts by Iran, Russia and Turkey, saying the countries offered "significant joint input" to establishing the constitutional commission.
De Mistura promised to brief the UN secretary-general and Security Council about the commission on Dec. 20.
During a Syrian peace conference this January in Sochi, Russia, participants agreed on the formation of a commission to develop recommendations to amend the Syrian constitution.
Last Friday, Lavrov said that Russia, Turkey and Iran will present a list of candidates for the commission to the UN.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011,, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.