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Syria says it has appointed a constitutional committee

DAMASCUS, Syria – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Syria says that it has handed over to the Russian and Iranian ambassadors in Damascus a list of the members that have appointed a committee to review the national constitution.

Control over the constitutional process has been a key point of conflict between the government of President Bashar Assad and the international community and the Syrian opposition.

Assad has said that his government will only consider amendments to the current constitution, challenging a UN initiative for the government, opposition and independents to draft a new document.

The UN initiative received a boost in February from Russia that organized a Syrian congress in Sochi earlier this year to press the belligerent sides to write a new constitution.

But the Syrian government has refused to support the effort.

The declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, published in state media on Saturday Today, was vague as to whether the government was nominating its own commission or nominating members to a UN commission. He did not identify the members named in the list. And he said the government was satisfied with "the current constitution."

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