New UN Syria envoy sees opportunity in constitution process

Posted at 12:37 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 12:37:07-05

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The new U.N. envoy for Syria says he sees the long-delayed formation of a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria "as a potential door-opener for the political process," and hopes to see it meet in Geneva "as soon as possible."

Geir Pedersen said Friday the constitutional committee needs to work "in parallel" with work on other issues. He cited governance, U.N.-supervised elections, refugees, internally displaced Syrians, humanitarian challenges, reconstruction, detainees and missing persons.

Pedersen said he stressed to the parties and their supporters during his recent travels that "confidence-building is needed," cease-fires must be respected, terrorism must be fought and only a negotiated solution to the seven-year conflict is possible.

He spoke to reporters in Geneva and a transcript was circulated to U.N. reporters in New York.