On Sunday, the UN special envoy for Syria arrived in Damascus to hold new talks on forming a committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for the war-ravaged country.
Geir Pedersen was set to meet with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday, to discuss the committee, the UN-backed push for which has been bogged down by disagreements with President Bashar al-Assad’s government over the makeup of the body.
Mr. Pedersen after arriving at the Syrian capital said he was “looking very much forward” to his meeting with Mr. Muallem. He also recalled the “productive meetings” they had during his last visit in July.
The diplomat of the Norwegian said progress has been made. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday an agreement had been reached concerning the formation of the body. The committee has planned to include 150 members, a third picked by the management, another by the opposition and the remaining third by the United Nations.
The mechanisms that will govern the committee’s work have yet to be agreed upon, besides its composition. However, the diplomats are afraid of the concept that congress progress is still months away.
The pro-Damascus daily Al-Watan says, Mr. Pedersen could make a formal announcement on the constitutional committee at the UN General Assembly, that will open this week in New York.
To end the war, many rounds of UN-led peace talks were held but all failed. The war has killed more than 370,000 people and uprooted millions since erupting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Parallel negotiations track led by Russia in the recent years and rebel backer Turkey has taken preference. As the main military from Russia supported, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have retaken large parts of Syria from rebels and jihadists since 2015, and now control around 60 percent of the country.