Syria constitution talks to resume October 18 in Geneva: UN
Talks on drafting a constitution for Syria will reconvene next month in Geneva, the UN special envoy for the war-ravaged nation told the Security Council on Tuesday as he welcomed headway following years of inertia.
"It has now been exactly two years" since the committee was created to draft the new constitution as agreed by the regime in Damascus and the Syrian Negotiations Commission, but "regrettably, the committee has not yet begun to make steady progress on its mandate," Geir Pedersen said.
After a tour of the region and 18 months of intensive negotiations with the parties, "I am pleased to announce that agreement is in place on methodology," Pedersen said, adding that the drafting committee "will convene in Geneva as of 18 October."
"We should all now expect the Constitutional Committee to begin to work seriously on a process of drafting - not just preparing - a constitutional reform," he said.
Building trust among participants, which include the regime, opposition groups, and civil society organisations, will be crucial towards creating a "credible constitutional process," Pedersen added.
The envoy also expressed hope that a Wednesday summit between the presidents of Russia and Turkey would help "promote calm" within Syria, particularly the northwestern region of Idlib, which is home to the last major jihadist and rebel stronghold.
Syria's war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests, spiralling into a complex battlefield involving foreign armies, militias and jihadists.