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UN envoy to Syria: ‘Serious discussions could open doors to political process’

The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen speaks during a joint press conference held with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas (not seen) in Berlin, Germany on February 12, 2019 [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş / Anadolu Agency]
The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen speaks during a joint press conference held with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas (not seen) in Berlin, Germany on February 12, 2019 [Abdülhamid Hoşbaş / Anadolu Agency]

The new UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, said yesterday that “some serious discussions could be a door-opener to a political process that will lead to a negotiated outcome to the conflict [in Syria]”.

Pederson recognised that there are serious obstacles ahead of reaching a point from which to start a political process in the war-torn country, but said: “I see the constitutional committee as the potential door-opener for the political process.”

While speaking about this issue in Geneva, Switzerland, he pointed to a UN resolution adopted in 2015 which called for the creation of a new Syrian constitution, followed by UN-supervised elections.

“It is obviously my hope that we will be able, as soon as possible, to have the constitutional committee meet in Geneva,” he said, without stating when such a meeting could take place.

Pedersen is the fourth UN envoy to Syria. All of his predecessors could not reach real solutions for the conflict, which has seen continuous bloodshed since it first began in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011.

However, Pedersen insisted that “confidence-building” measures should be taken, including respecting the ceasefire and fighting against terrorism. During the past few weeks, Pedersen met officials loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, as well as opposition leaders in exile, and conducted some talks with them.

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