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Syria Opposition Expresses Reservations on De Mistura’s 'Constitutional Mechanism' - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Geneva- UN Special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura sought on Tuesday to achieve a breakthrough in the “negotiations stalemate” by suggesting a new mechanism on legal and constitutional issues, but opposition forces expressed their reservations on the proposal.

A leading opposition member told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that during the sixth round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva, de Mistura proposed a special mechanism for discussing Syria’s new constitution, to be the base on which negotiations would later be built.

“De Mistura is trying to operate outside the blocked negotiations by establishing a mechanism that would practically comfort the Russian side, which gives the priority to discussing the issue of the constitution at the benefit of the political transition that opposition forces insist on tackling,” the source said.

He added that the opposition held a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the suggestions. “They noted several remarks without taking yet a final decision,” the source added.

A copy of de Mistura’s proposal received by Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper stipulates “the creation of a technical, consultative mechanism on constitutional and legal issues to avoid a constitutional, legal or institutional void at any phase of discussing the political transition operation.”

The consultative mechanism, headed by de Mistura’s teamwork, should hold separate sessions with a team of legal experts, which will be designated by the government and opposition delegations during the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

The annex for the mechanism also reads that the team will start its work immediately and seek to find ways for drafting a new constitution for the country.

High Negotiations Committee (HNC) spokesman Salem al-Meslet said that HNC members discussed during their first meeting with Mistura on Tuesday the topics of a constitution for Syria, and thousands of prisoners in regime jails.

The Syrian talks in Geneva kicked off one day after the US Department of State uncovered reports and photos documenting the involvement of the Syrian regime in “atrocities” committed in several prisons, including mass murders, sexual violence, and the building of a crematorium in the Saydnaya prison.

On Tuesday, France demanded an international inquiry on this matter, and called on those supporting the regime, especially Russia, to put pressure on Damascus to allow the arrival of the investigation team to the prison.