Syrian Constitutional Committee concludes 2nd day


The Syrian Constitutional Committee — made up of members from the opposition, civil society and regime — concluded the second day of talks on finding a constitutional roadmap for ending the lingering crisis in Syria.

The 150-member committee is mandated, within the context of a UN-facilitated Geneva process, to prepare and draft constitutional reforms paving the way for a political settlement in Syria.

They will gather for a third day of talks on Friday.

One opposition member who did not want to be named expressed “cautious optimism” about Thursday’s meeting saying 50 people addressed the proceedings.

“At least the atmosphere is not a collision or something unexpected, the views are not close to each other, but hopefully there will be an intention to accomplish something,” he said.

“The relative optimism stems from a determination to accomplish something,” he added.

Special UN Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen together with Constitutional Committee co-chairs Ahmad Kuzbari from the Syrian regime and Hadi Albahra from the opposition presided the meeting.

While saying their meeting is a “sign of hope”, Pedersen said the committee was “duty bound to strive to take on board the views of all your fellow citizens”.

“Before Monday the group has to agree to a 45-strong body — 15 from each of the Syrian regime, the opposition and the civil society blocs — to start work on the new constitution aiming for UN-supervised elections,” he added.

The goal is for consensus decisions where possible, and otherwise with a majority of 75%.

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, more than any country in the world.
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