United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen hopes to convene the first session of a UN-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee in the Swiss city of in Geneva “as soon as possible” early next year in a bid to begin a viable peace process to the country’s nearly eight-year-old conflict.
“I think we have identified the challenges and we have agreed on how we should move forward and that I see as a very, very positive sign,” Pedersen told reporters on Friday.
The Norwegian diplomat, who took over from Staffan de Mistura in January, added, “My hope (is) that they will be able as soon as possible to have the constitution committee to meet in Geneva.”
Pedersen further highlighted that he could not specify the time frame for a meeting of the committee, but he said his discussions with relevant parties had made good progress.
The senior UN official went on to say that his main goal was to negotiate an agreement between the two parties involved in the conflict.
“To be able to get to a situation, where you can say that we have been able to put eight years of conflict behind us and that we as Syrians agree that we will begin the process of creating a future for coming Syrians, that… would be the definition that we have been successful,” Pedersen commented.
He underlined that he saw the constitutional committee as “a potential door opener” for the political process to the crisis.
Pedersen said work was also needed on other issues, expressing hope to secure more cooperation from both the incumbent Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad as well as the Saudi-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC).
The UN envoy for Syria also hoped to see more prisoner exchanges, and clarity on missing persons in the wake of a swap between the government and Takfiri militant groups in the northwestern city of al-Bab.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said each side had released 20 prisoners.