West Urged to Play Helpful Role in Syria Peace Efforts

West Urged to Play Helpful Role in Syria Peace Efforts West Urged to Play Helpful Role in Syria Peace Efforts

Iran’s top diplomat has called on western powers to adopt a constructive and cooperative approach on the international political efforts to put an end to the plight of the Syrian people.  
“We [have] always insisted on a political solution led and owned by Syrians. The West has now been compelled to accept this. But it needs to facilitate; not dictate,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted after a consultative meeting between international guarantors of the Syrian peace process, namely Iran, Russia and Turkey, and the UN envoy on Syria in Geneva on Tuesday. 
The meeting was aimed at working out the composition of a UN-sponsored Syrian constitutional committee. After the meeting, Russia, Iran and Turkey called for it to convene early next year to kick off a viable peace process, but did not announce any decision on the make-up of the committee.
In a joint statement read out by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after the trio held talks with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, they said the new initiative should be guided “by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement,” Reuters reported. 
The foreign ministers of the three nations had hoped to seal their joint proposal on the committee, which could usher in elections, and win UN blessing for it.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the three powers had made “important contributions” to the creation of the panel and that suggested names were assessed.
“The UN will of course carry out necessary work on the nominated names in the coming process,” Cavusoglu said.
De Mistura, addressing a separate news conference, made clear the three powers had not nailed down a workable political forum yet, after years of abortive attempts at ending a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced around half of Syria’s pre-war 22 million population.


Extra Mile

“I believe there is an extra mile to go in the marathon effort to ensure the necessary package for a credible, balanced and inclusive constitutional committee, and for including a balanced chairing arrangement and drafting body and voting threshold— to be established under UN auspices in Geneva.”
De Mistura, who steps down on Dec. 31 after four years, has struggled since January to clinch a deal on the identity of 150 members of the committee.
He said he would brief UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and the UN Security Council on Thursday. He expected his successor Geir Pedersen to build on his work and “focus on the purely political aspect” at the conflict’s end.
President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition have each submitted a roster of 50 names. But Russia, Iran and Turkey have haggled over the final 50 members from civil society and “independent” backgrounds.
Syrian forces have inflicted heavy defeats on militants and reclaimed most of the Arab country with Russian and Iranian support apart from Idlib, a northwestern province, 
Turkey supports rebels who control part of northwest Syria.
A year ago, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was impossible for Syrian peacemaking efforts to continue if Assad remains in power.
However, Cavusoglu said on Sunday Turkey and other nations would consider working with Assad if he won a democratic election.

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