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Russia, Iran, Turkey back new Syria constitution body but fail to agree makeup

The foreign ministers of the three nations had hoped to seal their joint proposal on a committee

Russia, Iran and Turkey, supporters of the main sides in Syria’s complex civil war, on Tuesday failed to agree on the makeup of a UN-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee but called for it to convene early next year to kick off a viable peace process, Reuters reports.

In a joint statement read out by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the trio met UN Syria peace envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, they said the new initiative should be guided “by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement”.

The foreign ministers of the three nations had hoped to seal their joint proposal on a committee – which could usher in elections – and win UN blessing for it.

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But the statement by the three made no mention of the composition of the panel, pointing to lingering disagreement over lists of candidates submitted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his rebel adversaries.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking to Turkish state media, said only that the three powers had made “important contributions” to the creation of the panel and that suggested names were assessed.

“The UN will of course carry out necessary work on the nominated names in the coming process,” Cavusoglu said.

De Mistura, addressing a separate news conference, made clear the three powers had not nailed down a workable political forum yet, after years of abortive attempts at ending a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced around half of Syria’s pre-war 22 million population.

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