ANKARA (AA) - Turkey spoke for the Syrian opposition at this week's Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, Russia "to make sure the opposition would be in the constitutional list", diplomatic sources said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency that "if Turkish officials had not been present in the meeting, the invited to the constitutional committee would be consisted without the will of Turkey".
The sources said Sochi was not a "peace plan on its own, but provided additional value".
"UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura was given a great responsibility within this regard," the sources said. "Until now, these meetings were organized to meet with a structure that only represents regime and opposition forces. Many other groups were present in Sochi."
"[Mistura] will not choose a total of 150 officials in this committee, but a group of 25-30, maximum 40 people in it."
The sources said a total of 600 people were invited, and Turkish officials "made an effort for the Syrian opposition not to waste the [its] gains so far."
"They were not there physically, but their [aspirations] were explained and recorded thanks to Turkey," the sources added.
- Constitutional committee
On Tuesday, the Syrian opposition decided not to participate in the Sochi summit and instead announced that Turkey could do it on its behalf, the diplomatic sources said.
A Syrian opposition delegation arrived at Sochi for the summit but later changed their minds when they saw pictures with Syrian regime flags on it. Afterwards, they gave Turkey the authority to represent it at the summit, said the sources.
A proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed upon on Tuesday at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi, organized by Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow.
Parties at the two-day congress said in a final statement they wanted to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the region as soon as possible.
The statement also called on “all friends of Syria to take all necessary steps to help the country to reintegrate into the international community and restore its status as a distinguished member.”
“To that end we agreed to form a constitutional committee comprising the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation along with wide-represented opposition delegation for drafting of a constitutional reform as a contribution to the political settlement under UN auspices in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2254,” the statement said.
The constitutional committee will include “government, opposition representatives, Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women,” according to the statement.
It added that the final agreement on the “mandate and terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure, and selection criteria for the composition” of the committee is to be reached in the UN-led Geneva process.
The statement called on the UN secretary-general to assign his special envoy to Syria to assist the constitutional committee work in Geneva.