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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World
Syria talks end with plan to draft new constitution
    2018-February-1  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

A RUSSIA-HOSTED Syrian peace conference ended Tuesday with a plan to draft a new constitution as part of efforts to end the nearly seven-year civil war, but key opposition and rebel groups boycotted the gathering and it remained unclear if they would join the process.

The conference, held in Sochi, was also overshadowed by renewed fighting in northern Syria. Opposition activists reported more airstrikes on the rebel-held Idlib province, where dozens have been killed in government air raids this week, and Turkish troops continued their offensive on the Afrin enclave, held by a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia, which also boycotted the Russian-sponsored talks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov nevertheless hailed the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue as an important step toward peace in Syria and sought to play down the opposition boycott.

“No one expected that it would be possible to bring together representatives of all groups of Syrians without exclusion,” he told reporters after the talks. “There is no big tragedy that two or three groups weren’t able to attend.”

Lavrov said the conference participants agreed to form a constitutional committee that will be based in Geneva. He said the delegates named some of the committee’s members and that groups absent from the Sochi talks will be invited to name representatives.

A statement approved by the delegates said a final agreement on criteria for selecting members, the constitutional committee’s powers and its rules of procedure would be reached in Geneva under the United Nation’s aegis.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has been leading Syria peace talks in Geneva, said he would move quickly to set a schedule and a process for drafting the new constitution in Geneva “because Syria cannot wait.”

“All Syrians seek a safe, calm and neutral environment for a constitutional drafting to unfold,” he said in a statement. “All Syrians need a sustained cease-fire, full humanitarian access and the release of detainees, abductees and missing people.”

Alexander Lavrentyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria, said 1,393 delegates attended the congress. He said that the Sochi organizers were aiming to help revive the U.N.-backed talks in Geneva, not to sidetrack them.

The Geneva negotiations have made little progress since they began four years ago. The opposition’s demand that President Bashar Assad play no role in a future political transition has been the main sticking point.

The Sochi talks, by contrast, were not intended to address Assad’s fate, but to instead discuss constitutional reforms and future elections. (SD-Agencies)

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