Syrian govt denounces ‘US interference’, its role in Constitutional Committee

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The Syrian government denounced on Sunday what it called “US interference” in Syria after the State Department released a statement criticizing the Assad regime’s delegation during a meeting of the UN’s Syria Constitutional Committee aimed at drafting a constitution for the war-ridden country.

The State Department’s statement read that at the second round of meetings between the drafting committees, the Assad regime’s delegation “requested preconditions before they were willing to meet to discuss these constitutional principles. The requested preconditions from the Assad regime clearly violate the constitutional committee’s rules of procedure, and are a blatant attempt to delay the work of an important effort.”

In response, the state SANA news agency cited an interior ministry source as saying that the government “reaffirms that this dialogue is Syrian, and that no one has the right to interfere or support any party under any pretext.”

The news agency also cited the source as saying that that the role of the United Nations represented by its Special Envoy Pederson “is limited to facilitating the Committee's discussions and its affairs only.”

The source stressed that any “opinions or statements from the United States or others have no value and will not affect the work of the Committee and the nature or form of its content and dialogues.”

A second week-long round of Syrian talks has ended without a meeting of the group of 45 delegates meant to be negotiating on the constitution, United Nations Special Envoy Geir Pedersen had said on Friday.

The Syrian government and opposition co-chairs were unable to agree on agenda for the constitutional talks, he told reporters. “We have been trying to reach consensus but as I said we are not there yet.”

The talks are meant to be a step forward in what the UN says will be a long road to political rapprochement, followed by elections.