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UN envoy says Syria regime, opposition agree to redraft constitution

Reuters

clock 3 min read

UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen attends a press conference shortly prior to the resume UN-backed talks on a new constitution for Syria, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, on August 27, 2020.
AF Photo/Fabrice COFFRINIUN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen attends a press conference shortly prior to the resume UN-backed talks on a new constitution for Syria, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, on August 27, 2020.

Syria's opposition delegation seeking reforms, including equal rights for all Syrian citizens

The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Syria said on Sunday the government and opposition co-chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee agreed to draft a new constitution. 

Comprising 45 representatives of the Syrian government, opposition, and civil society, the drafting committee has a mandate to map out a new basic law leading to UN-supervised elections, Reuters reported.

Special Envoy Geir Pederson said the Syrian co-chairs had agreed to “prepare and start drafting constitutional reform” after meeting for the first time ahead of week-long discussions.

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As the sixth round in two years - the first since January for the drafting committee - the talks will cover “clear principles,” Pederson said, according to Reuters.

Hadi Al-Bahra, co-chair of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, announced its opposition delegation was seeking reforms, such as equal rights for all Syrian citizens. 

“Because we don’t have separation of power in the current constitution,” al-Bahra said, “it created an imbalance which was utilized in the wrong ways.”

He said that each side would present proposed texts on issues including sovereignty and rule of law, Reuters reported.

Syria’s decade-old war escalated out of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

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At the beginning of the year, Pederson, a veteran Norwegian diplomat, noted that Assad’s delegates rejected proposals for progressing the constitutional process, according to Reuters.

“Since then… I have been… trying to be able to establish a consensus on how we are going to move forward,” Pederson said. 

“I am very pleased to say that we have reached such a consensus.”