Politics, Americas, Middle East

US envoy:Syria Constitutional Committee 'positive step'

Those who have been detained need to be released in Syria

Peter Kenny   | 29.10.2019
US envoy:Syria Constitutional Committee 'positive step' GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 29: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel D. Rayburn speaks to the media a day prior to the Syrian Constitutional Committee meeting in Geneva, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on October 29, 2019. ( Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency )

GENEVA

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel D. Rayburn says the Syrian Constitutional Committee that is to meet on oct. 30 in Geneva is a “positive step.”

Rayburn spoke to journalists ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, noting his delegation came to Geneva to support the launching of the Constitutional Committee for Syria under the auspices of the United Nations.

“The Constitutional Committee is an opening to a political process under UNSCR 2254, and it will require serious engagement and commitment from all sides in order to succeed,” said Rayburn.

Rayburn said his group wanted to engage with the Constitutional Committee and members of Syrian civil society “to offer our political and material support.”

“The Syrians who have traveled to Geneva to take part in this effort must put their people first.”

He said, “There is no military force that can bring stability, allow Syrians to return safely to their homes or defeat terrorism.

Rayburn said a very important issue for Syria is the release of the many, many thousands of detainees that have disappeared into the “Assad regime's prisons and whose fate is unknown there and unaccounted for.”

There is also the necessary effort to hold free and fair elections, he noted.

The UN special envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen said Monday that the official opening of the 150-strong Constitutional Committee meetings will take place at the UN’s Geneva office, calling it a “door opener for a broader political process.”

"The agreement to form the Constitutional Committee is the first political agreement between the Syrian government [Assad regime] and the opposition," he said.

The committee is made up of 50 members of the Syrian regime, 50 opposition members, and 50 members of civil society.

Turkey has long pushed for the formation of a Constitutional Committee for Syria to find a political solution to the Syrian civil war, which has raged since 2011 and sent over 3.6 million refugees to Turkey, more than any other country in the world.

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