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Syrian parties invited by UN to a new round of constitution talks

The Assad regime and the Syrian opposition have been invited to the eighth round of discussions in late May, which are aimed at reforming Syria's constitution, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

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The Assad regime and the Syrian opposition have been invited to the eighth round of discussions in late May, which are aimed at reforming Syria’s constitution, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

UN Security Council members were told by Geir Pedersen that an agreement on a rewritten constitution may help bring an end to the 11-year conflict.

Syria’s Constitutional Committee’s seventh session finished on March 25 with delegations suggesting “at least some adjustment to some of the documents given,” he reported.

A few days later Deputy Special Envoy to Syria Khawla Matar visited Damascus and Istanbul to continue conversations with the committee co-chairmen, and on Tuesday, May 28, to June 3, she sent out invitations to the eighth session in Geneva, Pedersen added.

If the committee’s work is characterized by “a sense of compromise and constructive engagement” aimed at obtaining “a general accord,” the drafting process will proceed, he said.

All five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League signed off on an agreement in 2012 that called for the creation of a new constitution in Syria.

The process culminates in elections overseen by the United Nations, in which all Syrians, even those living abroad, are allowed to vote. The route map was unanimously supported by a Security Council resolution adopted in December 2015.

During a Russian-hosted peace conference in Syria in January 2018, a 150-member committee to develop a new constitution was agreed upon. The actual drafting would be done by a 45-member committee, including 15 members from the regime, opposition, and civil society. The committee didn’t get started until September of this year, and little has been accomplished since then.

To the council, Pedersen conveyed the message that “Syria is not a frozen conflict” through video briefing.

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