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2nd round of Syria talks end with failure to get agenda

UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (2nd R) attends the fourth round of the intra-Syrian talks, marking the first time the Syrian regime and opposition delegations have returned to negotiations in Geneva on February 23, 2017. ( Mustafa Yalçın - Anadolu Agency )

A new round of talks on Syria peace failed to start due to failure to reach an agreement on the agenda, said a UN official on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“It was not possible to call for a meeting of the small body of 45 because there has not been an agreement on the agenda,” UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told reporters in Geneva.

“As you know, in the core rules of procedure, it says that the two co-chairs shall proceed in consensus and agree on an agenda,” said Pedersen, who did not have a date yet for the next round of talks.

“We tried to reach a compromise … but we are not yet at that point,” he said.

The Syrian regime continued this week in Geneva to block the meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

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Hadi Albahra, the co-chair of the opposition side on the committee, said: “Although it was not possible to hold a joint session, there was a positive framework because consultations were held through the special envoy” and preparation was made for future work.

He earlier told reporters that the regime had proposed adding an item to the agenda that fell outside the basic framework of the constitution.

Ahmad Kuzbari, the co-chair of the regime side, said: “We are still ready to make efforts in the future in the coming sessions to reach an agenda for our people who place high hopes on our efforts.”

The Syrian Constitutional Committee — made up of opposition, civil society, and regime members — started talks on Nov. 20 with the UN facilitation.

The second round of talks started on November 25.

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Pedersen said there were several rounds of discussions every day with the two co-chairs.

“They have had good discussions, serious professional discussions. And we have been trying to reach a consensus. But as I said, we are not there yet,” said Pedersen.

The committee is mandated within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process to prepare and draft for popular approval of constitutional reforms paving the way for a political settlement in Syria.

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