Syrian constitutional talks stall

Damascus, Oct 23 (IANS): The latest round of talks on drafting a new constitution for Syria attended by members of the Syrian Constitutional Committee's so-called Small Body, which is tasked with preparing and drafting the document, concluded without producing any understanding on commonalities.

Geir O. Pedersen, the UN special envoy for Syria, told a press conference here that the parties "lacked a proper understanding on how to move the process forward", reports Xinhua news agency.

"I think it is fair to say that the discussion today was a big disappointment. We did not manage to achieve what we had hoped to achieve, that we would have a good discussion on how to reach forward for some kind of a consensus," he said.

"As in all processes, this would require that we build on the little bit of trust that we have managed to establish through this week, and that we need a political will to find the right way of dealing with this process so that we can start to minimize differences and identify areas of commonalities," he said.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee, which comprises representatives of the Syrian government, the opposition and civil society, was formally established in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 30, 2019, to draft a new constitution for the war-torn country.

The committee's Small Body, which brings together 45 delegates (15 each from the three groups), has met in Geneva five times already without making any major progress.

Asked at Friday's press conference whether the parties had at least agreed on the date of the next round, Pedersen replied: "No."



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