New U.N. Syria Envoy Seeks Syria Constitution Talks, No Firm Timeframe | 9/17/2018 | Staff
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GENEVA (Reuters) – The new U.N. envoy tasked with forging peace in Syria hopes to convene a constitutional committee in Geneva “as soon as possible”, he said on Friday, without giving a firm timeframe for the latest attempt to end the country’s devastating war.

Formation of a constitutional committee is key to political reforms and new elections meant to unify Syria and end an almost eight-year-old war, which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced about half of Syria’s pre-war 22 million population.

Geir - Pedersen - Syria - Mediator - Kofi

Geir Pedersen, the fourth Syria mediator after Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi and Staffan de Mistura, said he also had ideas about how to build trust and confidence between the two sides, who have previously attended nine rounds of largely fruitless talks as the war rumbled on.

“I think we have identified the challenges and we have agreed on how we should move forward and that I see as a very, very positive sign,” Pedersen told reporters.

Hope - Constitution - Committee - Geneva

“My hope (is) that they will be able as soon as possible to have the constitution committee to meet in Geneva.”

Syria’s opposition last year agreed to join a process of rewriting the constitution under U.N. auspices following a peacemaking conference in the Russian city of Sochi.

President - Bashar - Triumphant - Conflict - Inch

But President Bashar al-Assad, who is emerging triumphant in the conflict and has sworn to retake every inch of Syria still outside his control, has objected to the world body naming members of the committee.

Pedersen said he could not be more specific about the timeframe for a meeting of the committee, but he said his discussions with relevant parties were good.

Asked if he would have failed...
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