By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – The Syrian conflict has dragged on for almost nine years despite the best efforts of all involved parties to come to an agreement. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced a week ago that a comprehensive plan will begin withe the aim of returning autonomy to Syrian citizens.
Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen told the UN Security Council on Monday, that a Constitutional Committee comprised of 150 Syrian women and men will convene in Geneva on October 30. He emphasised that the committee will be,”Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, credible, balanced and inclusive. “
This committee should serve as a “sign of hope” Pedersen said, after an agreement between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Negotiations Commission to what he deemed as a: “package deal of the nominees to the committee and a Term of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure to guide its work.”
The UN special envoy cautioned: “Seizing this opportunity will not be easy. Syria remains in the gravest crisis, with violence and terrorism continuing, five international armies operating on its territory, appalling suffering and abuses, a deeply divided society, and a sense of despair among its people inside and outside the country. Trust and confidence is almost non-existent.”
Pedersen stressed just how crucial this committee will be in bringing the country out of conflict and creating a new beginning in Syria. The committee’s purpose, he said, is to reestablish trust and confidence where it had been completely shattered.
He said that everyone must “stop a minute” to recognizer the monumental significance of this agreement. Pedersen emphasised that this will be the very first “concrete agreement” between the Syrian government and the opposition to begin implementing a key section of Security Council Resolution 2254.
The ultimate goal, Pedersen explained is to set a schedule and a process in motion to create a new constitution. This one step , he said, will bring the committee members into a face-to-face dialogue Pedersen pointed out and as he explained: “open a space for civil society at the table,” to further enhance the negotiation process.
Pedersen said the purpose of the agreement is to foster collaboration within the committee and specifically requires an adherence of 75 percent in the devision-making process.
He said that all parties have made the commitment to work as efficiently and as continuously as possible to achieve results and make ongoing progress without foreign interference or external deadlines.
Pedersen reiterated that during this process, there will be no precondition or insistence on agreement on one point prior to discussion on another point.
The hope is that the committee process remains transparent throughout and that the parties have welcomed UN involvement including reporting to the UN Security Council on their progress.
UN Special Envoy To Syria, Geir Pedersen said: “Both parties have told me that they have confidence in the UN and want to work with us in a sustained and constructive manner. We will do everything we can to meet their expectations.”