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UN envoy to Syria meets officials, expects constitutional talks to resume

The UN’s special envoy for Syria announced that he expects a committee representing the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime to resume talks next month over drafting constitutional reforms.

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The UN’s special envoy for Syria said on Wednesday that he expects a committee representing the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime to resume talks next month over drafting constitutional reforms.

Geir Pedersen spoke to reporters in the capital of Damascus after he met with officials from the Assad regime over the country’s lengthy conflict.

“I must say that after my discussions today, I am more optimistic that it will be possible to convene the seventh round of the drafting body of the constitutional committee, hopefully sometime in March,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen added he would contact the opposition’s Syrian National Coalition after which “we will be able to send out an invitation.”

Constitutional talks were last held in Geneva in October when Pedersen said the Assad regime’s refusal to negotiate on revisions to the country’s constitution was a key reason for their failure.

The talks in October followed a nine-month hiatus in the UN-led meetings of the Syrian constitutional committee.

In 2012, a UN road map to peace in Syria was approved by representatives of the United Nations, Arab League, European Union, Turkey, and all five permanent Security Council members to end the conflict that has killed half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.

The roadmap ends with UN-supervised elections with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. A Security Council resolution adopted in December 2015 unanimously endorsed the road map.

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