UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen stressed that all issues are open for discussion within the Constitutional Committee without preconditions.
During a briefing delivered to the UN Security Council in New York on Friday, he underlined the need for a comprehensive political process, as mandated by the Council in resolution 2254, saying it is more pressing than ever.
In a statement distributed by his office, Pedersen said the Syrian conflict is on the path of peace.
“Yet, the past 12 months have seen a steady stream of violence, punctuated by escalations, that continue to this day, across many areas of Syria – such as the northwest, the northeast and the south. Proscribed terrorist groups have also not been defeated and continue to pose a major security threat,” he warned.
The envoy explained that on November 21, the co-chair designated by the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission sent him a proposed work plan with 10 constitutional headings and an agenda focusing on the preamble to the Constitution and basic principles of the Constitution.
“He proposed an agenda discussing national pillars, or national pillars of concern to the Syrian people,” Pedersen said.
He stated that the Co-Chair designated by the Government insisted that constitutional issues could not be discussed until these “national pillars” were addressed.
The envoy said that from November 25 through 29, he sought to facilitate consensus between the Co-Chairs and bring their viewpoints closer together.
“We had serious discussions in this regard… By the end of the week, however, it was clear that consensus would not be reached and that a meeting of the Small Body was not possible,” he said.
Pedersen hoped that an agreement can be reached promptly on an agenda that falls in line with the Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Committee.
“As things stand and absent an agreed agenda, I see no reason to convene another session of the Small Body,” he said, adding that any proposed agenda must comply with the Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure, agreed between the Government and opposition.
“This means that all issues are open for discussion within the Committee - without preconditions, and without making consideration of one issue dependent on resolution of another,” Pedersen explained.
The UN officials said de-escalating violence and a nationwide ceasefire should underpin a wider political process.
“The devastating humanitarian cost of a full-scale military offensive for the 3 million people living in northwest Syria is a price we simply cannot afford to pay. All sides must de-escalate urgently,” he demanded.