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Syria constitutional talks to begin on March 21 in Geneva

The office of the UN Special Envoy to Syria said on Friday that a new round of talks involving the Constitutional Committee will resume in Geneva for five days from March 21. 

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The office of the UN Special Envoy to Syria said on Friday that a new round of talks involving the Constitutional Committee seeking a solution to the ongoing 11-year war in the country will resume in Geneva for five days from March 21.

The seventh round of the Constitutional Committee Small Body will meet behind closed doors in Geneva.

“The Constitutional Committee will be meeting in closed sessions and off-site,” the special envoy’s office revealed.

The latest round of talks ended in Geneva on October 22 with “disappointment”, as described by the Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen at the time.

“They were able to agree on allocating constitutional provisions to different parties, but could not reach a consensus on any of them,” Pedersen said.

The UN official added that the regime delegation decided not to present any new text, while the opposition groups only responded to draft texts from the regime and civil society.

While trying to convince parties to agree on the date for the seventh round of discussions for the past months, Pedersen further reflected disappointment.

He told the UN Security Council in New York on February 25: “Militarily, front lines remain unshifted, but we still see all signs of an ongoing hot conflict.

“Any of a number of flashpoints could ignite a broader conflagration. We continue to see mutual shelling, skirmishes, IEDs (improvised explosive device), and security incidents across frontlines in the northwest, the northeast, and the southwest.”

“It is plain that there is a stalemate, that there is acute suffering, and that a political solution is the only way out. This requires a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process, which must be supported by constructive international diplomacy – however hard that is, and especially right now,” he added.

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.

The war has killed about 500,000 people and displaced more than five million civilians.

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