Damascus, November 5: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has discussed the formation of the constitutional committee with the visiting Russian President's Special Envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev. Lavrentiev's visit came days after Russia, Turkey, Germany, and France held a summit in Turkey's Istanbul to discuss the formation of the committee. The media office of the Syrian presidency on Sunday said that Assad met Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin in Damascus, during which the Russian guests put Assad in the picture of the development at the quartet summit that took place on October 27, Xinhua reported. The Russian envoy also discussed with Assad efforts exerted by Moscow with regional and international parties to remove the obstacles to progress on finding a political solution for Syria.
According to the report, both sides agreed to continue joint work to remove all the obstacles facing the formation of the constitutional committee. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hopes that by the end of 2018, Syria's constitutional committee will start functioning. The constitutional committee is expected to include 150 members, equally divided into three groups, one chosen by the government, the second by the opposition and the third by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Over 1,500 Bodies Found in Syria Mass Grave.
The formation of the constitutional committee was agreed upon during inter-Syrian talks in Russia's Sochi this January that were brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey. In his recent remarks, Putin said that "now we need to agree on the third part with the participation of public organizations and representatives of various public bodies." He also noted that the work was not easy as each side would be striving to "fill this part with those people who they trust".