UN satisfied with Syrian constitution meetings

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 06.11.2019 17:27

U.N. Special Representative for Syria Geir Pedersen's spokesperson Jennifer Fenton said on Tuesday that the ongoing meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee are making "positive" progress.

"Special Representative Pedersen is happy with the progress of the meetings," she told Anadolu Agency (AA). "Many issues have been agreed on in a short time."

The first round of the meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee began on Oct. 30 with the participation of 150 members of the committee and ended on Nov. 1.

A 45-person drafting committee made up of 15 people from the Syrian regime group, 15 opposition members and 15 from civil society began Monday's second round of talks, which lasted two hours.

Respectively, representatives of civil society, dissidents and the Syrian regime's editorial board welcomed the U.N. officials at the door.

Fenton noted that the parties had agreed on the "rules of conduct and protocol" that Pedersen had set for the meetings.

Hadi al-Bahra, the co-chair for the opposition group, said in a statement on Monday the meeting had given positive messages.

Al-Bahra added that the meeting went well, setting out the path for the discussion on the constitution.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee has two structures, consisting of one large group and a small one.

There is a 45-person editorial or drafting board whose work must be approved by a larger structure of 150 people, with consensus or the approval of at least 75% of the members.

The committee is made of 150 members, with 50 regime delegates, 50 opposition members and 50 civil society members chosen by the U.N. envoy to Syria.

The launch of a process for a new constitution and the formation of the committee started at a conference in Russia in January 2018. Agreeing on the full list of members has taken over 18 months.

Pressure from international stakeholders, starting with Russia, Turkey and Iran, makes it more likely that the committee will function effectively. What all parties agree on, for now, is the need to preserve Syria's territorial integrity and political unity. It is also noteworthy that this middle ground is an important starting point for Syria's new constitution.

The Constitutional Committee has two co-chairs, including al-Bahra, the former president of the Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces National Coalition, and the regime's co-chair Ahmed Kuzbari, a lawyer from the committee that drafted the previous constitution.

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