Today: Tuesday, 21 May 2024 year

UN envoy: Syrian warring sides agree to Geneva constitution talks

UN envoy: Syrian warring sides agree to Geneva constitution talks

The United Nations special envoy to Syria confirmed that the warring sides have expressed their decision to restart the stalled constitution talks in Geneva.

Geir Pedersen, the United Nations envoy to Syria, has announced with great pleasure that the representatives of opposing sides in Syria’s armed conflict have agreed to reconvene in Geneva for stalled negotiations on the constitution.

A lull in fighting could provide an opportunity to start healing “deep, deep mistrust” between them, Mr Pedersen said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the decision of the warring sides, Pedersen said that as soon as the coronacrisis allows, the rivals have agreed to come to Geneva and they have agreed on an agenda for the next meeting.

For the UN diplomats, that is the great news, Pedersen said but did not give a date and said a virtual meeting of the constitutional committee would not be possible.

The UN-backed talks: Key players agree to come to Geneva

During Tuesday briefing, the UN envoy to Syria repeated a call for key international actors, including Moscow and Washington, to hold talks about a push for peace.

In fact, Kremlin has been the key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Washington opposes him. Mr Pedersen told the UN Security Council on Monday that Bashar al-Assad ally Iran and opposition backer Turkey “are key players too”.

As the UN top official reiterated there have been too many fleeting opportunities to move from conflict to a political path that was lost, and “those missed moments were followed by renewed violence and a hardening of positions among regional and international actors”.

“We must not repeat this pattern,” Pedersen added.

Since the start of the bloody Syrian conflict, there have been 12 rounds of peace talks in Kazakhstan and eight rounds of Geneva conferences.

The long-standing divisions between the United States and Russia over Syria were evident in their speeches to the council that followed, which gave no indication of a desire for talks.

Meanwhile, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called for the lifting of unilateral “suffocating sanctions” imposed by the US and others which he said were preventing Syria from buying medical items to tackle coronavirus pandemic and he criticised the presence of US forces in northeast Syria.