The Syrian opposition and the government representatives of the Syrian Constitutional Committee agreed to launch a drafting process for constitutional reform in the country, according to the U.N. Special Envoy.
Envoy Geir Pedersen, speaking to reporters in Geneva after meeting the Syrian co-chairs ahead of weeklong talks on Sunday, said they had agreed to "prepare and start drafting constitutional reform."
The talks will be the sixth round in two years and the first since January.
The last round of talks ended in January without progress. Pedersen said that after eight months of talks he was pleased to announce an agreement on “methodology” for a sixth round. It’s based on three pillars: respect for rules of procedure, the submission of texts of “basic constitutional principles” ahead of the meeting and regular meetings of the co-chairs with him before and during the meeting.
“The co-chairs are also committed to setting provisional dates for future meetings and discussing a workplan,” he said.
Syria’s nearly 10-year conflict has killed more than half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war 23 million population, including more than 5 million refugees mostly in neighboring countries.
At a Russia-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018, an agreement was reached to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution. It took until September 2019 before a committee was formed.
The United Nations continues to emphasize the importance of a negotiated political solution to the Syria conflict as called for in a December 2015 Security Council resolution. It unanimously endorsed a road map to peace approved in Geneva on June 30, 2012, by representatives of the U.N., Arab League, European Union, Turkey and all five permanent Security Council members.
It calls for the drafting of a new constitution and ends with U.N.-supervised elections with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.