Turkey submits candidate list for key Syria committee

Turkey submits candidate list for key Syria committee

Call to set up constitution committee and selection of 150 candidates most important outcomes of Syria congress, says Turkey

By Meltem Bulur and Behlul Cetinkaya

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey announced Tuesday that the Turkish delegation at the Sochi congress on Syria submitted a list of 50 candidates to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress for a planned constitutional committee.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that Turkey acted in a “constructive manner” from the beginning about the Syrian National Dialogue Congress hosted by Russia.

The proposal to form a constitutional committee was agreed on Tuesday at the congress organized by Ankara, Tehran, and Moscow in the Russian city.

The ministry statement said the call to set up the committee and selection of a pool of 150 candidates for it were the most important outcomes of the Congress.

“The Turkish delegation, which was given the mandate to represent opposition groups that didn’t attend the Congress, submitted a list of 50 candidates in consultation with the opposition.”

The statement said that in the process of forming the committee, the UN special envoy on Syria would appoint names from inside or outside the candidate list.

“The establishment process of the Constitutional Committee will be closely monitored by Turkey as the guarantor of the opposition,” it added.

“Turkey will continue to support, on all platforms, efforts for a political solution that will bring real political change to Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”

It said it expects all actors to “fulfill their responsibilities in directing the conflicting parties in Syria to negotiate a credible political solution.”

It told how Turkey underlined its readiness to support the initiative at a Sochi summit last November attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey believes that “the Congress may contribute to the Geneva process on condition that the UN’s participation is ensured and the credible opposition is given credit for its role in the political process,” said the statement.

“Due to recent cease-fire violations on the ground as well as the unresolved concerns and uncertainties with regard to the Congress, the High Negotiations Committee and the Syrian National Coalition decided not to participate in the Congress,” it added.

“A delegation composed of some opposition members who travelled from Ankara to Sochi to attend the Congress did refuse to enter the country in reaction to the posters and logos that were put up at the Congress Center and the airport, showing images of regime flags,” it said.

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