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Syria Constitutional Committee ends meetings without progress

Participants of the third day of the sixth round of the Syrian Constitutional Committee meetings leave United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland on October 20, 2021 [Muhammed Yusuf / Anadolu Agency]
Participants of the third day of the sixth round of the Syrian Constitutional Committee meetings leave United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland on October 20, 2021 [Muhammed Yusuf / Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen announced on Friday that the sixth round of meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva ended "without making any progress."

"The round concluded with great disappointment, as it did not reach any understanding or common ground between the Syrian parties," Pedersen disclosed in a press conference held at the UN headquarters in Geneva.

"The regime's delegation did not present papers on the last day of the meetings, which was a big disappointment," he indicated.

He stated: "The government delegation decided not to submit any new texts, and the opposition delegation decided that it would not respond to texts submitted by the government, or submitted by the civil society group. This round did not help us reach any understanding about common issues or common ground, and as I said, it was a source of disappointment."

Pedersen reviewed the course of the sixth round, explaining: "Before the delegations arrived, we agreed with the two co-chairs (Ahmed Al-Kuzbarifrom the regime and Hadi Al-Bahra from the opposition) that they would present four titles, which all delegations, the regime, the opposition and civil society did."

"We started the meeting according to our agreement, and within a week, the two presidents (Al-Kuzbari and Al-Bahra) met with me and with members of the office (the UN), sometimes several times per day. The meetings were frank and professional and included open-hearted discussions," he added.

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

"After discussions on the topics that should be written into constitutional drafts and that we will send to the meeting, the principles were presented, and there were difficult and good times," Pedersen continued. "We agreed that we will focus today (Friday) on presenting the principles that were discussed and reach what can be called a preliminary interim agreement if possible, or reach a consensus on what we do not agree on, or part of it."

He also added: "Today's discussion was a source of big disappointment, we did not achieve what we hoped to achieve, and I think we lacked a sound understanding of how to move forward with this understanding."

He concluded by insisting: "The process must be built on trust, even if it is very little, in order to reduce the differences and define the areas of difference and agreement."

The sixth round of the Constitutional Committee's meetings began last Monday and ended on Saturday, as did the past five rounds, without achieving any progress.

In the sixth round of the Constitutional Committee's work, the committee met with a small body of 45 members, equally distributed between the regime, the opposition and representatives of civil society.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee was established in 2019 after efforts by the guarantor states of the Astana Process – Turkey, Russia and Iran – and consists of 150 members who make up the expanded body equally among the three Syrian parties.

Five rounds held since the founding of the round failed to achieve any progress. The sixth round saw the regime taking part in the constitutional process alongside other parties.

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