Portuguese / Spanish / English

UN special envoy for Syria says this week talks ended in 'disappointment'

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen talks to reporters at his hotel in the Syrian capital Damascus, on September 11, 2021 [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen talks to reporters at his hotel in the Syrian capital Damascus, on September 11, 2021 [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]

On Friday, the UN special envoy for Syria ended a week of talks to start a discussion on a new constitution for the war-torn country and said the last day was "disappointing", Anadolu News Agency reports.

Geir Pedersen said three of the five days of talks had gone well but did not end well, and he could not say when the next round of talks would start again.

"The two co-chairs agreed on the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty" for Syria, said Pedersen.

"Today's talks were a huge disappointment," said the UN envoy, with the three sides involved in the constitutional committee—from the regime, the opposition, and civil society groups.

"We didn't achieve what we hoped to achieve. I think we lacked a proper understanding of how to move that process forward. So, in the end, it was the government delegation that decided not to present any new text."

Ahmad Kuzbari, the Syrian regime's representative, spoke briefly to the media after the meeting, blaming the opposition side for the talks not working, refusing to take questions.

WATCH: Little Amal takes her first steps in Folkestone as first leg of the UK tour

"Our delegation reaffirms its will to carry on, to positively engage in the process of the Syrian constitutional committee," he said.

Hadi Al-Bahra from the opposition said all sides agreed on the territorial integrity of Syria.

"The outcome means that all three parties have to have the necessary will to reach an agreement and to reach a political solution. Unfortunately, until now, this will is not present, at least from one party," he said, without naming the regime side.

No attempts at consensus

"There were not even attempts to achieve a consensus," said Al-Bahra.

He denied that the opposition was part of any foreign agenda.

"All those who were present in the meeting are against any foreign occupation of any kind," said the opposition chair.

He added: "There are agreements that have been signed by the regime that allows foreign forces to be present on the Syrian soil," in an apparent reference to Russia without naming it.

When asked, he said the new name of the country should be acceptable to all in the country.

"If we don't learn from history and the catastrophe of all the blood and pain and suffering of 200,000 detainees, it would all be for nothing," said Al-Bahra.

The UN envoy had begun the talks on Sunday, by meeting the two co-chairs of the constitutional committee— one from the opposition and one from the Syrian regime.

For the first time, that day, the two committee co-chairs—Ahmad Kuzbari, the Syrian regime's representative, and Hadi Al-Bahra from the opposition side—had sat down together with Pedersen "for a substantial and frank discussion on how we are to proceed with the constitutional reform."

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.

More than 5 million civilians have since been displaced.

READ: Syrian government, opposition agree on drafting new constitution

Categories
International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
Show Comments
Show Comments