Syria ‘rejects UN plan’ on constitution committee – outgoing envoy de Mistura

The outgoing UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Security Council on Friday that Damascus rejects the composition of a committee proposed by the world body to draw up a new constitution. The envoy, who is due to step down in November, said Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem had rejected a central element of the committee, which the UN hopes could provide the basis for ending the seven-year civil war. De Mistura has been working since January on the makeup of a committee to hammer out a new constitution. It would have 150 members: 50 proposed by the Syrian government, 50 by the opposition and 50 by the UN, to include representatives of civil society and technical experts, AFP reports. The envoy said it was the last list of UN-proposed names that the Syrians had rejected during talks on Wednesday. According to the diplomat, Muallem indicated that Damascus and Moscow “had agreed recently that the three Astana guarantors (Russia, Iran and Turkey) and the Syrian government would, in consultations among them, prepare a proposal as regards the third list.”