UN: No new meeting yet on drafting new Syria constitution

December 20, 2019 - 6:08 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria told the Security Council on Friday that he won’t convene another session of a 45-member body that is supposed to draft a new constitution for Syria until the government and opposition agree on an agenda.

Geir Pedersen, who is facilitating meetings of the constitutional committee in Geneva, said he hopes to consult the government in Damascus soon, as well as the opposition.

A second week-long round of Syrian talks aimed at starting negotiations ended on Nov. 29 without agreement.

Pedersen said the first meeting of the 150-member constitutional committee ended successfully, but there are several lessons from the second meeting with the smaller drafting body.

“The constitutional committee is and will remain fragile,” he said, adding that any agenda must comply with the terms of reference and rules of procedure agreed to by both sides.

Pedersen said by video conference from Geneva that “the second round only underscored the need for a broader and comprehensive political process.”

Drafting a new constitution for Syria is a first step in what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hopes will be a road to peace.

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