Syria: UN hopes for progress on the eve of new talks

The UN envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, hopes that this fourth round of negotiations will allow a breakthrough in the revision of the constitution with a view to a political settlement in this country at war.

At the end of August, the discussions had ended without concrete results, but Geir Pedersen had expressed “common points” between the various members of the committee.

AFP

The UN envoy for Syria said he hoped Sunday for “progress” on the eve of the fourth round of negotiations in Geneva on a revision of the constitution with a view to a political settlement in this country at war. “We want to see progress,” Geir Pedersen said at an online press conference from Geneva.

The 45-person constitutional committee – who equally represent the Damascus government, the opposition and civil society – is due to meet on Monday for the fourth time since October without any major progress made so far.

Geir Pedersen said he hoped for “in-depth discussions” for a new round of talks scheduled for January focused on “constitutional principles”.

He said he made several diplomatic visits ahead of Monday’s negotiations, including to senior officials in Tehran and Moscow, allies of the Damascus regime, as well as to Ankara, which supports the rebels. It is “important that we have clear international support for the work that we are doing,” he stressed.

Responsible for revising the 2012 Constitution, the Constitutional Committee was created in September 2019 and met for the first time a month later.

Deep disagreements

Deep disagreements between the main protagonists but also the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the pace of the meetings.

At the end of August, the discussions had ended without concrete result, but Geir Pedersen had expressed “points in common” between the various members of the committee.

The revision of the Constitution appears in resolution 2254, adopted in December 2015 by the Security Council, which also provides for the organization of elections under the supervision of the United Nations.

The UN hopes that this process will pave the way for an end to the conflict that has claimed more than 380,000 lives since 2011.

(ATS)

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