BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told UN envoy Staffan de Mistura that the constitution was a “sovereign matter” up to the Syrian people, state media said on Wednesday.
On a visit to Damascus, De Mistura discussed a delayed process which aims to rewrite the constitution, after many futile talks to end Syria’s more than seven-year-old war.
“The constitution and everything related to it is a purely sovereign matter that the Syrian people decide on without any foreign intervention through which some states seek to impose their will,” Moualem said.
The two talked about “efforts to make progress in the political process”, the state news agency SANA said.
De Mistura has a mandate from the UN Security Council to forge a political settlement in Syria, where government forces have retaken much of the country from rebels and militants.
A congress convened by Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s key ally, in January tasked him with forming a committee to draft a new constitution which would eventually lead to new elections.
But nine rounds of UN-based talks in Geneva have never led to direct meetings between the warring sides and the prospect of negotiating a peace deal looks increasingly unlikely.
The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced at least 11 million others.
De Mistura said last week that he would step down at the end of November for family reasons.
Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Mark Heinrich.