MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Syria wishes to step up the resolution of the crisis in the country in a political fashion and fulfils all of its obligations under a corresponding UN Security Resolution, Syrian prime minister told Sputnik.
"Syria’s wish is to intensify resolution of the problem in a political way, we fulfil all of the demands of the international community, our friends’ advice, especially with regard to implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2254. We are participating in the third round of talks that is underway now in order to reach a settlement that all Syrians wish for," Wael Nader Halqi said.
The document containing the Syrian government's comments was handed over to de Mistura at the current round of Geneva talks, according to the prime minister.
"The document is a set of proposals and ideas that, from our point of view, can lead to the beginning of the settlement. This document contains a number of proposals which concern first and foremost governance form, changes to some articles of the constitution, and views on a future government following parliament elections," Halqi said.
Damascus also values Russia’s role in promotion of the Syrian peace process in the context of the peace talks in Geneva, the Syrian prime minister noted in his interview with Sputnik.
"We value very highly the significant role and active diplomatic efforts which [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin plays on the political arena through efforts of [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov on the global level for promotion of the peace process including what is happening in Geneva," Wael Nader Halqi said.
National Unity Government
The Syrian government understands the so-called transitional period as a transition from the current government to a "national unity government" with broad representation, according to the prime minister.
"With regard to understanding the transitional period, for us this is a transition from one reality to another, from the current government to a government of national unity with broad representation," Wael Nader Halqi noted.
A broad national unity government will then form the draft of the country's new constitution, the prime minister added.
"When the expanded government finishes working the draft constitution, the preparation for the electoral process to the parliament will begin," Wael Nader Halqi said.
Damascus intends to hold a referendum on Syria's constitution after the formation of a new government.
The current Syrian constitution may remain unchanged following a referendum on the issue, or it may be changed partially or completely, the Syrian prime minister told Sputnik.
Answering a question on what issues will be brought to the upcoming referendum, Wael Nader Halqi said: "The constitution. Everything that is related to changing various clauses."
"The whole constitution, all clauses of the constitution have been brought forward for discussion. We can change some of the clauses of the constitution, we can change all of it. Constitution may stay the way it is now, but currently there is a wish to change some clauses," the minister explained.
"We have sovereignty in Syria and it is up to people to make the decision. Sovereignty in Syria belongs to the people, not specific persons [discussing the draft constitution]. After these people are done with discussions, the draft constitution will be adopted. This will be a draft Constitution, not the constitution. To make this draft the constitution we need to hold a referendum. When the people approve it,it will become the constitution. Before that it is only a draft that can be discussed, negotiated, and which may be amended," he said.
New Parliament Elections
According to the prime minister, new parliament elections will be held in Syria following a referendum on a new constitution for the country.
"After an expanded government has been formed, work will be done to study the constitution, amendments will be made. It is possible that some articles of the constitution will be changed or that a whole new constitution is adopted. It will then be voted on in a national referendum. Following that, preparations for parliament elections will begin," Halqi told Sputnik.
The prime minister added that "candidates will be nominated by all parties and political forces" and can also include independent candidates, "as in any elections across the world."
The new Syrian government must include representatives of the current cabinet, independent politicians, as well as the national opposition, Wael Nader Halqi noted.
"Our current government includes various political forces. The cabinet includes the ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party and a group of allied parties, which are united in the so-called National Progressive Front. This government, as previous governments, also includes independent politicians," Halqi said.
"As for the extended government we are proposing as a compromise solution, it should include various forces, but the foundation must be the current government, as well as patriotic opposition parties, which should not include terrorist organizations or individuals affiliated with terrorists. As well as independent figures," he added.
The new Syrian government will be formed by the party that wins the elections, which may well be opposition.
"As far as the electoral process is concerned, candidates will be nominated by all parties and political forces, as well as independent candidates, as in any elections across the world. A parliamentary faction which gets the most votes, independently or together with allied parties will form the government. If the opposition gets most votes at the parliamentary elections it will be responsible for forming the government. If the Ba’ath party and its allies from political parties and the National Progressive Front win, then they will form the government. Therefore, the future government will be formed by whoever wins the elections. This will strengthen the principles of democracy in Syria," Wael Nader Halqi said.
A new government in Syria can also include members of the foreign-based opposition, as long as they are not financed or controlled by other states, or affiliated with terrorists.
"This should be patriotic opposition, regardless of whether it is based within the country or abroad. It needs to have a patriotic foundation, it cannot be affiliated with foreign countries or be financed or controlled from abroad, like some of those who claim to be foreign-based opposition currently are. These can also not be individuals who head terrorist groups. Some of them are present at the Geneva talks, by the way. Particularly persons affiliated with Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam," Halqi said.