Syria constitution talks to resume on January 25: UN

Syria constitution talks to resume on January 25: UN
Syrian delegates have agreed to resume talks on constitutional revisions starting January 25.
2 min read
04 December, 2020
UN Syria envoy Geir Pedersen said the meeting had been a "useful exercise" [Getty]

A fourth round of talks in Geneva towards revising Syria's constitution concluded Friday with all sides agreeing, for the first time, on an agenda and to meet again next month, the UN said.

Geir Pedersen, the UN special envoy for Syria, told reporters that the Syrian negotiators had through the week shown some signs of moving towards "common ground" on some issues, and had agreed to meet again from January 25.

They also agreed to discuss "constitutional principles or basic principles of the constitution" at their next meeting.

This, he said, marked "the first time" the sides had managed to reach agreement in session on both an agenda and a time for the next meeting.

The so-called constitutional committee made up of 45 people - with 15 delegates each representing the Damascus regime, the opposition and civil society - began meeting on Monday after months of little headway.

Before the latest round of talks began, Pedersen had voiced hope they would help move the process forward at least, and on Friday he said the meeting had been a "useful exercise".

"This committee is indeed important," he said, stressing that "it can be a door opener" to broader progress.

But he stressed that "it cannot alone resolve the conflict."

"After 10 years of conflict, it is not surprising that this is perhaps slow-going and a difficult process."

The constitutional committee was created in September last year and first convened a month later, but disagreement over the agenda and the coronavirus pandemic hindered further meetings until a third round in August.

That round, which was disrupted after four delegates tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after arriving in Geneva, ended without concrete progress.

The fourth session was supposed to take place in October, but was postponed over lack of consensus on the agenda.

Syria's war, which broke out after the brutal suppression of anti-government protests in 2011, has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.

Endless rounds of UN-backed peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed and in recent years have been largely overtaken by a parallel negotiations track led by Russia and Turkey.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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