The countries that insist on setting artificial deadlines for calling the Syrian constitutional committee are trying to undermine the Astana process and overthrow the current regime in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Friday during the Mediterranean Dialogues international conference in Rome.

“Those who insist on [UN Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan [de Mistura] setting a deadline and saying, “This is it, this is my list, I don’t care what you think,” they want only one thing: to ruin Astana process and to come back to some regime change logic,” Lavrov stated.

“When the ISIL (former name of the IS, terrorist group outlawed in Russia – TASS) was close to the outskirts of Damascus in August 2015, nobody was calling on the opposition to start negotiations with the government. But after the situation changed on the ground, everybody is calling on the government to start negotiations,” the Russian foreign minister said. “Bias in this kind of issues is absolutely counterproductive. And such approaches demonstrate not only the double standards, but they reveal that people who promote such approaches think about their own geopolitical games, and not about the fate of the people who are in need to be helped, to get out of the crisis,” he stressed.

Earlier, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura stated that the first session of the Syrian constitutional committee might take place in December of this year.

On January 30, the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, agreed to set up a constitutional committee that will be tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria.

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More:
http://tass.com/world/1032315

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Much respect to Lavrov. A true diplomat.