In Syria, first meeting without illusions of the Constitutional Committee

The opposition is doubtful of obtaining real concessions from the regime in Geneva.

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Syrian Government Representative Ahmad Kuzbari (left) and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen at the first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee on 30 October at the Palais des Nations Geneva. Martial Trezzini / AP

This is a first since the Geneva negotiations in 2014: representatives of the Syrian government, the opposition and civil society sat side by side on Wednesday (October 30th) at the Palais des nations, the headquarters of the Organization. United Nations (UN) on the shores of Lake Geneva. These delegates participated in the opening of the work of the Constitutional Committee, formed in late September after twenty months of laborious negotiations on its composition and mode of operation. This body is charged with working on a new version of the Syrian constitution, in accordance with United Nations Resolution 2254, adopted in December 2015.

The intentions of the UN special envoy for Syria, the Norwegian Geir Pedersen, are modest. If he rented "A historic moment" and hoped to write "A new chapter" in the history of Syria, he acknowledged to the press that "The constitutional committee does not (Could) not on its own be a solution to the conflict ", but that he could allow "To open doors".

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The inaugural meeting in Geneva brought together the 150 members of the Constitutional Committee, divided into three groups of fifty people linked to the regime, the opposition and civil society. Opposition members reportedly joined the city of Calvin on Russian charter flights, fueling diplomatic skepticism, denouncing the hand of Moscow, the Syrian regime's main ally, on the negotiating process.

Role of appearing

It was in Sochi, on the shores of the Black Sea, during a conference organized by Russia, as part of the process of Astana co-sponsored by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, that the idea of ​​forming a constitutional committee had in January 2018. The right of scrutiny demanded by Damascus on the identity of the fifty representatives of civil society, supposed to be chosen by the United Nations, dragged on the length of the preparatory discussions.

The foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran, sponsors, made the trip to Geneva and issued a joint communiqué, welcoming the beginnings of the committee they helped to create. Mr. Pedersen recalled that this should be "Led by the Syrians and them alone" and not be subject to foreign interference, without succeeding in masking the role of now figuring played by the UN and the Western powers.


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