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The Non-Paper of the Five: an Instrument of Mandate
(Opinion of the Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition about Tillerson's non-paper on Syria):
The non-paper presented by a group of five States (USA, UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan) constitutes a direct and serious violation of the right of the Syrian people to self-determination, as well as a violation of resolution 2254 in several points.
First, discussing the contents of the constitution in detail is not the authority of the United Nations, nor even the bargaining power of the negotiating parties. It is an exclusive right of the Syrian people to exercise it through a Constitution Drafting Committee formed at the beginning of the Transitional Period and then through a referendum. What should be discussed in the negotiations is only the constitutional process and the very general principles of the constitution. This is what all the Syrian parties, in the opposition and the regime, have stressed. And this what was discussed in Lausanne, where the United Nations played a role as a facilitator only, and the debate was between Syrians. But discussing the details of the content, let alone the UN intervention in it, is an attack on Syrian sovereignty and insistence on the outdated colonialist colonial mentality.
Second, The timetable according to the resolution 2254 sets the process of drafting the constitution after the formation of the governing transitional body (GTB), i.e. after the completion of the political agreement. However, the non-paper document openly contradicts this, by making the drafting process simultaneous with the negotiations and even assigns this task to the United Nations with some sort of participation from Syrians.
Third, The document determines in advance the future face of Syria, in terms of the nature of the parliament, the powers of the president, and the centralization and decentralization, that is, the authors of the document are claiming themselves guardians of the Syrian people, and determining in advance the form of the people’s future state in its most fundamental aspects: (would the system be presidential, presidential-parliamentary, or parliamentary, what is the nature of parliament, what is the nature of centralization and decentralization).
Fourth, among other things, the authors of the paper chose to talk about regional governments, that is, they decided in advance on behalf of the Syrians that Syria would be federal even if they did not say it overtly, and this is what perpetuates our fears about the intentions of some states to divide Syria.
Fifth, the non-paper avoids any talk about the transitional governing body (TGB), It talks, instead, about a "safe and neutral environment", thus, unveils the US intentions to deviate from Resolution 2254, seeking to perpetuate the war and keep the regime unchanged, up to totally eliminating Syria, through attrition of it to the maximum limit.
Sixth, in the electoral process, the non-paper provides the United Nations with mandate powers, rather than supervisory powers (the former exceeds the latter. i.e., it exceeds the maximum possible legal electoral intervention of UN). According to the non-paper, the United Nations would be able to: appoint the supreme body that leads the elections, intervene in the drafting of electoral laws, take part in making executive decisions of what the non-paper called “electoral management body” (EMB), and certify the final results. Though it is true that some of the powers mentioned in the non-paper could be in the hand of the United Nations, but assigning these to the UN, in addition of being an attack on the sovereignty of the Syrians, it makes it clear that what the paper wants, without explicitly declaring this, is turning EMB into TGB, because when the United Nations takes hold of the safe environment and elections from A to Z, and with the minimum amount of Syrian involvement, it is the United Nations, not the Syrian people, who would shape the future Syria – If any future Syria might have been left by this process.
The non-paper is contrary to Resolution 2254, and is hostile to the political solution. It is not below what the Syrians deserve, but against what they deserve and demand.
Moscow Platform of the Syrian Opposition
26 / 01 / 2018