UN Envoy in Damascus for Talks on Political Settlement
UN special envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen arrived in Damascus Sunday on a three-day visit to meet with regime officials to discuss efforts to form a Constitutional Committee.
Speaking to reporters from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, he vowed to continue to exert efforts to see the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254 that calls for a ceasefire and political settlement to Syria’s crisis.
He met with Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who expressed Syria's readiness to cooperate with Pedersen to facilitate a political solution, the state news agency SANA said.
But he said that the political process, including talks over a new constitution, should be "Syrian-led and -owned".
Last month the envoy said in Geneva that he saw a constitutional committee as "the potential door-opener for the political process".
The committee would be tasked with drawing up a post-war constitution.
Pedersen faces the same difficulties as his predecessor, Staffan de Mistura, in reviving negotiations to resolve the crisis.
Before departing his post last year, de Mistura focused his efforts on forming the Constitutional Committee that was proposed by Damascus’ allies, Russia and Iran, and opposition-backer Turkey.
The 150-member committee is intended to represent the regime, the opposition and civil society and is seen by the UN as key to holding free elections and ending the war in Syria, which entered its ninth year this week.
Objections over the potential candidates submitted by concerned powers have, however, stalled its formation. Damascus has been particularly vocal over the latest list of candidates presented by the UN.