Syria talks to continue on Nov 25: UN envoy

Syria talks to continue on Nov 25: UN envoy

Syria talks to continue on Nov 25: UN envoy

The Syrian Constitutional Committee will continue its discussions on Nov.25, a U.N. special envoy said on Nov. 8.

“The two co-chairs have agreed to meet here again in 14 days. The next round of discussions will start on November 25,” Geir Pedersen said of the Constitutional Committee, Reuters reported on Nov. 8.

The committee, composed of government and opposition members, met for the first time on Oct. 30 as the first step on what the U.N. has dubbed as a long road to political reconciliation.

The 150-member body convened by Pedersen has been proceeding talks in Geneva.

“This is a historic moment,” Pedersen had said at the first meeting.

The committee selected on Nov. 1 to write a new constitution for Syria agreed on a 45-member drafting body that will begin work on Nov. 4, a first step on what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hopes will be a road to peace.

Regarding the meetings, Pedersen had said the 150 committee members were invited to make opening statements “offering initial ideas on constitutional issues and suggestions for the drafting body.”

He told reporters after the three days of initial meetings ended that it isn’t surprising that after eight years of conflict in Syria, “there are deep differences, a lot of suspicion, and a lack of trust.”

When asked about the timeline for the 45-member drafting body, Pedersen replied: “We will discuss that during the weekend.”

An agreement to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution for Syria was reached at a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in January 2018.

There was an early agreement on 50-member lists from the Syrian government and from the opposition. But it took nearly 20 months to agree on the list the United Nations was authorized to put together representing experts, independents, tribal leaders and women, mainly because of objections from the Syrian government.

Agreement on a new constitution has been seen as a key step toward implementing a 2012 roadmap for peace in Syria that includes a cease-fire and ends with U.N.-supervised elections.

Constitutional review is a central part of the U.N.’s peace plan for Syria, which was defined by Security Council resolution 2254, adopted in December 2015.

The roadmap was approved by representatives of the U.N., Arab League, European Union, Turkey and all five veto-wielding council members: The U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France.