The first face-to-face talks between the Syrian government and opposition in nearly nine years to draft a new constitution for the country will continue to next week, the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said on Friday. The talk is being brokered by the UN.
The first phase of the talks, officially the “First Working Session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee Large Body”, began at the UN Office in Geneva on Wednesday, with Mr. Pedersen urging both sides, along with a third delegation representing Syrian civil society, to seize the “historic” opportunity of working together, for the sake of the Syrian people.
In a press statement, Mr. Pedersen said that Wednesday’s opening ceremony, which saw statements from co-chairs Ahmad Kuzbari and Hadi al-Bahra – representing, respectively the Syrian Government and opposition – had taken place in a “dignified and forward-looking manner”:
“We, of course, all know that after eight and a half years of conflict, there are deep differences, a lot of suspicion, and a lack of trust”, he acknowledged. “But the fact that 150 Syrians have been sitting together, respecting each other, talking to each other, discussing – according to the agenda that we agreed upon – the future of Syria, I think was quite impressive.” Said Mr. Pedersen. (Source: UN News)