DAMASCUS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday discussed the formation of a constitutional committee with a Russian delegation in the capital Damascus, state news agency SANA reported.
The Russian delegation is headed by Russian president's Special Envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.
The meeting focused on the continuous efforts to make progress on the political track, especially in forming a committee for discussing the constitution and the mechanisms and procedures of its work, said the report.
The officials also discussed the current military operation in the northwestern Idlib province, which is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.
The visit of the Russian delegation came two days following the visit of UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen, who discussed the formation of the constitutional committee in Damascus with Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.
Following his talks with al-Moallem, Pederson said the talks achieved solid progress, particularly in the issue of forming a constitutional committee to review and amend the Syrian constitution.
"We have had very positive and constructive discussions. I believe we have made very solid progress and we are indeed very close to an agreement on establishing the constitutional committee as an opener door for a wider political process," he said.
On the constitutional committee, the Syrian government has been reluctant to allow any foreign interference with the constitution, saying this is a sovereign matter.
In January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there is no timeframe for launching the constitutional committee in Syria, but the work needs to be done as quickly as possible.
The launch of a Syrian constitutional committee has become the centerpiece of UN peace efforts in the country, with the goal to hold elections to end the eight years of the devastating war.