Syrian Constitutional Committee to converge in Geneva


The Syrian Constitutional Committee, made up of opposition, civil society and regime members, is set to be inaugurated on Wednesday in Geneva with the UN’s facilitation.

The committee will be formally launched at 12 noon local time (1100GMT) at a gathering where Geir O. Pedersen, UN special envoy for Syria, is expected to give a speech.

Pedersen on Monday said that the committee is mandated, within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process, to prepare and draft for popular approval a constitutional reform that will pave the way for a political settlement in Syria.

He said he expects the 150-member committee to begin consultations on Nov. 1.

“Thereafter, we aim to have the smaller drafting body of 45-15 from the government, 15 from the opposition, 15 from the middle third, that they will then start their work here in Geneva,” he said.

The envoy added the decisions will be taken by consensus, where possible, and otherwise by majority of 75%.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that all stakeholders will sit together for the first time and “take the first step on the political path out of the tragedy of the Syrian conflict”.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, over 5 million civilians have become refugees. Turkey hosts 3.6 million of them, the most any country does in the world.

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