HNC spokesman Yahia al-Aridi denies working on constitution draft in Moscow
Turkey - SMART
On Monday, Yahia al-Aridi, the spokesman of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Riyadh II Conference, denied that he is working on a constitution draft in Moscow.
The HNC for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, founded in 2015, aims to form a negotiating delegation that represents the Syrian Revolution Forces in the Geneva talks.
Al-Aridi reported to SMART that the draft items that were posted on social media are old and were presented earlier by Russia and the Syrian government during the Astana Talks, only to be rejected.
Al-Aridi added that the old constitution items were published "to make a fuss." The items suggested to rename Syria the Syrian Republic instead of the Syrian Arab Republic. The new alleged constitution also suggested deleting the word "Allah" from the presidential oath.
The items included suggestions about decentralizing power, limiting the president's power, revoking Islam as a source of legislation and the religion of the president, changing the name of the Central Bank to the National Bank, replacing the local administrations with the Association of Regions, and renaming the People's Council the People's Association.
Al-Aridi accused the Syrian government of republishing the draft to cancel all possibilities of a political solution and underestimate future attempts to rewrite the constitution.
Al-Aridi confirmed that the constitutional committee has not been formed yet, adding that the Syrian government and the opposition have suggested representatives for the committee but there is a disagreement about the representatives suggested by the United Nations.
After a meeting with the UN on January 18, 2018, Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed on making efforts to form a constitutional committee in early 2019.