SOCHI, Russia – Participants in a Russia-sponsored Syrian National Dialogue Congress agreed on Tuesday on the creation of a commission to draft a new constitution for the strife-torn Middle Eastern nation.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, praised the pact.
“You did work hard today. You concluded that a constitutional committee should at the very least comprise the government, opposition representatives in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women – and women,” the diplomat said at the conclusion of the conference in Sochi.
He acknowledged that the process leading to the accord had not been easy and described the task of forming the committee as a “delicate exercise.”
The largest Syrian opposition faction, the self-styled High Negotiations Committee, boycotted the event, which brought roughly 1,600 delegates to this Black Sea resort city.
Negotiations brokered by De Mistura concluded a ninth round last week in Vienna without making any progress toward ending a conflict that has claimed as many as 500,000 lives since March 2011.