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Pedersen: Syrian Regime, Opposition Agree on Drafting New Constitution

Pedersen: Syrian Regime, Opposition Agree on Drafting New Constitution

Sunday, 17 October, 2021 - 17:00
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen gestures while speaking during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia July 22, 2021. Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool via REUTERS

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on Sunday the regime and opposition co-chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee had agreed to start the process of drafting a new constitution.


The committee, comprising 45 representatives of Syria’s government, opposition and civil society, has a mandate to draw up a new basic law leading to UN-supervised elections.


Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said its Syrian co-chairs, who he met together for the first time ahead of week-long talks, had agreed to "prepare and start drafting constitutional reform."


The talks, the sixth round in two years and the first since January for the drafting committee, will discuss "clear principles", he told reporters in Geneva, without elaborating.


In January Pedersen, a veteran Norwegian diplomat, said that President Bashar Assad’s representatives had rejected proposals by the Syrian opposition as well as the envoy’s own ideas for moving the process forward.


"Since then close to nine months I have been negotiating between the parties, trying to be able to establish a consensus on how we are going to move forward. And I am very pleased to say that we have reached such a consensus," Reuters quoted him as saying on Sunday.


Western diplomats say Russia had prodded Damascus in recent weeks to show flexibility in the talks, and Pedersen has made two trips to Moscow in recent months.


"The Syrian Constitutional Committee is an important contribution to the political process but the committee in itself will not be able to solve the political crisis," he said on Sunday.


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