The United States and six other nations called Thursday for the United Nations to convene a committee to begin drafting a new constitution for Syria. Cornering Assad diplomatically to avert further bloodshed.

Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan and Saudi Arabia joined the U.S. in urging the world body and its special envoy for Syria to form the committee as soon as possible to promote a political transition in the war-ravaged country.

The inclusion of Egypt is significant. The North African country, home to some 16 million Orthodox Copts, will weigh heavily on the process. Egypt’s involvement and that of the Orthodox Church are important to secure a better future for Syria. Syria is home to a strong Orthodox community as well.

Also as significant is the exclusion of Qatar and Turkey. Both countries favor a Muslim Brotherhood take-over in Syria the Orthodox Church opposes vehemently.

New Constitution, New Elections

The U.N.-led effort to bring Syria’s warring factions together has been stalled for years. A new draft constitution will avert further bloodshed. The seven countries want the U.N. envoy to report back on progress by the end of next month.

Their joint statement, drafted by the seven nations, read:

There is an urgent need for concerted diplomacy and international political will to end the conflict. To that end, we call on the U.N. and the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria to convene, as quickly as possible, a credible, inclusive constitutional committee that will begin the work of drafting a new Syrian constitution and laying the groundwork for free and fair U.N.-supervised elections in a safe and neutral environment in which all eligible Syrians — including those in the diaspora — have a right to participate.

Failure to abide by this international call will demonstrate the regime’s fear of testing its popularity through fair elections.

The new push comes as Chemical Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have made significant progress against the rebels.

AP contributed to this article.

Cornering Assad Diplomatically

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