Middle East

Latest Syria talks’ round ‘a disappointment’ – Middle East Monitor

The UN special envoy on Syria said Friday this week’s peace talks were a disappointment, Anadolu Agency reported.

“To me, it has been a disappointment,” Geir Pedersen, the UN Syria envoy, who was facilitating the five-day talks of the 45-strong Syrian Constitutional Committee, told journalists after the week-long talks ended, leaving the schedule of a new round uncertain.

“I gave a statement to all 45 committee members. I think it’s fair to say it was an open, frank, and direct assessment of where we are.

“And I told the 45 members of the adopting body that we cannot continue like this. This week has shown that such an approach is not working,” Pedersen added.

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The envoy said he expects to address the UN Security Council on Feb. 9 and speak to the Bashar al-Assad regime after, he added, its co-chair had rejected a proposed compromise he suggested after the talks faltered.

Hadi al Bahra, the former Syrian head of the National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SMDK), is the co-chair for the opposition, while the regime’s co-chair is Ahmed Kuzbari, a lawyer.

The opposition group said it had offered a set of constitutional recommendations for discussions on the fourth day of negotiations expecting opposition from the government side.

“No sustainable political solution can exist, but the full and strict implementation of all international resolutions pertaining to Syria,” said Bahra at a news conference.

“This is what led us to take part in the Syrian constitutional committee, shouldering our national responsibility, and fully committed to UN Security Council resolution 2254 of 2015.”

“And based on those principles our delegation proposed about sovereignty, about the separation of power, about dignity and freedom of rights, about political freedom and political parties, freedom of association,” said Bahra.

“We talked about the state of law, judicial authority and independence, and other issues regarding group and personal freedoms.”

READ: Syrian Constitutional Committee meetings continue in Geneva

He spoke of the difficulties in dealing with the regime side.

“We need to deal with this regime. Despite the fact we do not like the way they work or the slow pace they adopt, this is the reality, and we need to deal with reality. This does not mean we are abandoning our objectives.”

Kuzbari accused the opposition side of introducing new “pre-conditions.”

“Now the ball is in the court of the international community, the United Nations, the Special Envoy, Mr. Pedersen, and the members of the Security Council,” he said.

Pedersen said he would meet other leaders involved in the peace process and was also likely to hold talks with members of the new US administration under President Joe Biden.​​​​​​​

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