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Constitutional committee only first step: UN envoy for Syria
update:September 25,2019
Sept. 25,2019-- UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen on Tuesday called for measures to build trust and confidence for the advancement of the political process in the war-torn country after the formation of the constitutional committee.
The formation of the constitutional committee, which was formally announced by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, is the only first, albeit important, step in this process, Pedersen told an EU event on Syria on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
"Moving forward, we need to work on more than the constitutional committee, if Syria is to move toward a new future," he told the event attended by EU foreign affairs and security policy chief Federica Mogherini and other European officials.
The establishment of the constitutional committee is a "door opener" to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria, including eventual free and fair elections, he said.
"But for this to happen, and this is important, we must build up what is still almost totally lacking in Syria -- and that is a sense of trust and confidence -- between Syrians, and between Syria and the outside world. There's no alternative but to work together to identify how to move together along a better path."
In this respect, real action on detainees, abductees and missing persons -- done in a meaningful way and at meaningful scale -- is critical for the success of any credible political process, said Pedersen. "In parallel, we must of course ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches all those who need it, that conditions are in place to allow for safe, dignified, and voluntary return (of refugees), and we must continue to support neighboring countries who so generously host Syrian refugees."
Pedersen said the UN secretary-general and himself will meet the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition in New York in the coming days before he begins discussions with them on the launch and initial work of the committee.
"I believe I can say with some confidence that it will be launched very soon," said Pedersen.
Under an intra-Syrian agreement reached at Sochi, Russia, in January 2018, the constitutional committee is to be composed of representatives of the Syrian government, the opposition and civil society, each with 50 members.
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