Middle East

Syria opposition co-chair seeks 'results' at talks

Hadi al-Bahra says if constitutional talks do not make progress this week, they will falter

Peter Kenny and Bayram Altug   | 27.01.2021
Syria opposition co-chair seeks 'results' at talks

GENEVA 

The second day of Syrian peace talks ended Tuesday in Geneva with one of the leaders of the main opposition movement saying that if concrete results are not obtained in a short time, the process will falter. 

"The most important feature of this round is to show the international public the attitude of all parties to the constitutional process," said Hadi al-Bahra, the former head of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SMDK) and opposition co-chair

Al-Bahra issued a written statement in Arabic as the talks involving both the regime and the opposition ended with both sides ready to return again for another day but not commenting.

Geir Pedersen, the UN Syria envoy, is facilitating the five-day talks of the 45-strong Syrian Constitutional Committee aimed at a final peaceful solution after 10 years of war.

Jenifer Fenton, Pedersen's spokesperson, told journalists at a UN press briefing in Geneva that the meetings' agendas are "the basic principles of the constitution" in line with the terms of reference set down.

Members of what is known as the "Small Group" responsible for drafting the constitution – consisting of 15 people each from the Assad regime, NGOs and representatives of the Syrian opposition – gathered again in Geneva.

Al-Bahra warned that the parties involved should not put obstacles in the progress of the talks.

He said that for this week's talks to succeed, those participating should show a willingness for the "full implementation" of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

He warned that if the Constitutional Committee did not do that and "concrete results are not obtained in a short time, the process will falter."

Access to the talks was closed to the press due to the coronavirus, and only UN camera operators and photojournalists were allowed in.

Pedersen is expected to hold a press conference at the end of the week.

Syria has been embroiled in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

More than 5 million civilians have since been displaced.

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