Syria Says 'Progress' towards Talks on Post-War Constitution

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Damascus on Wednesday for the first time announced "great progress" towards forming a body to agree on a post-war constitution, as the U.N. envoy to Syria visited.

"Great progress was made towards reaching an agreement for a committee to discuss the constitution," the foreign ministry said after U.N. envoy Geir Pedersen met its head Walid Muallem.

Pedersen, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat who took over the job in January, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday hoping to push ahead with stalling efforts to end the eight-year civil war.

His predecessor, Staffan de Mistura, stepped down after a four-year tenure that ended with an abortive push to form the constitutional committee.

The regime wants to amend the existing constitution, while the opposition have called for a new one.

The committee is to be made up of 150 members, 50 chosen by the regime, the same number by the opposition, and another 50 selected by the U.N. envoy.

Pro-government newspaper Al-Watan on Tuesday reported that a body could start work at early as September if Damascus agreed to Pedersen's list.

Numerous rounds of U.N.-led peace talks have failed to end a war that has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since its started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.

In recent years, a parallel negotiations track led by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey has taken precedence.

With key military backing from Russia, regime forces have retaken large parts of Syria from rebels and jihadists since 2015, and now control around 60 percent of the country.

Comments 3
Thumb whyaskwhy 4 months

So Syria's regime wants to play fair? They will apply the same fairness as to have election results in 99.999% to the current butcher in Damascus? Pigs will fly first....

Missing bigjohn 4 months

In Syria, you do not have free and open elections, but you do not have that in most so-called democracies. You do have secular parties that are tolerated and involved in parliamentary elections, which is a LOT more than most of the dictatorships of the world the colonial west supports.

Thumb whyaskwhy 4 months

You also failed to mention Little John that in your Utopian Syria you do not have any justice or civil rights specifically if you oppose the government. Unlike the western world who even a terror supporting person like you who has zero tolerance for ones civil liberties enjoy the freedom from persecution of your demonic beliefs.