Europe

Talks on Syrian Constitutional Committee 'going well’

Core ‘drafting body’ of 45 members to begin talks Monday

Peter Kenny   | 02.11.2019
Talks on Syrian Constitutional Committee 'going well’

GENEVA

UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said Friday the first round of talks by the Syrian Constitutional Committee was “successful” and the next round, with a whittled down group of 45, will start Monday.

“The last two days have been very good,” said Pedersen, addressing journalists in the evening after chairing two days of talks with the 150-strong committee launched Wednesday.

Pedersen said the committee also agreed on the 45 members that will work in the so-called “drafting body” to meet Monday, made up of 15 members of the Syrian regime, 15 opposition members and 15 members of civil society.

“We also know, of course, that after eight and a half years of conflict, there are deep differences, a lot of suspicions, a lack of trust. But the fact that 150 Syrians have been sitting together respecting each other, talking to each other…I think was quite impressive.”

The Syrian Constitutional Committee began the third day of talks Friday at the United Nations in Geneva with more discussions on a constitutional roadmap.

Pedersen had launched the Constitutional Committee with co-chairs Ahmad Kuzbari from the Syrian regime and Hadi Albahra from the opposition in an opening ceremony Wednesday.

The two co-chairs also addressed journalists Friday after Pedersen.

Albahra said the first part of the meeting “has worked well, and members have expressed their opinions and made their suggestions for the group of 45.”

He said Syrian constitutions written since 1920, including that of 2012, will be discussed at the meetings.

"A new constitution will be created. The important thing is that it is to be a fair and free constitution," he said.

“For security reasons,” he said the next meeting after Geneva “is not possible in Damascus because opposition members’ lives are endangered.”

Kuzbari said: “We exchanged ideas in two days, and the three different groups had their opinions.”

“Generally, the environment was good,” he noted.

The Constitutional Committee is mandated within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process to prepare and draft constitutional reforms paving the way for a political settlement in Syria, to be held to popular approval.

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