U.N. en­voy urges Syria char­ter meet­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

GENEVA — The out­go­ing U.N. en­voy for Syria ap­pealed Fri­day to the coun­try’s war­ring sides to agree on a com­mit­tee to draft a new con­sti­tu­tion, seen as a way of bring­ing the Mideast na­tion out of its pro­tracted civil war.

Staffan de Mis­tura said dis­agree­ments re­main over a “few names” of those who would be on that com­mit­tee. He said “agree­ment, par­tic­u­larly on the side of the gov­ern­ment” of Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad was needed.

The en­voy has been try­ing to convene a meet­ing of the “con­sti­tu­tional com­mit­tee” be­fore year-end, and his ef­forts have kept him in his post later than he had ex­pected. He told re­porters that his Dec. 20 briefing to the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil could be his last.

De Mis­tura has pre­vi­ously said that As­sad’s gov­ern­ment has ob­jected to 50 mem­bers of the com­mit­tee rep­re­sent­ing civil so­ci­ety, ex­perts, in­de­pen­dents, tribal lead­ers and women that he was au­tho­rized to put to­gether at a Rus­sian-hosted Syr­ian peace con­fer­ence in Sochi ear­lier this year. Rus­sia is a cru­cial backer of As­sad.

Un­der the Sochi agree­ment, the com­mit­tee is to com­prise 150 mem­bers. There is al­ready agree­ment on the 50-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion from the gov­ern­ment and the 50-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion from the op­po­si­tion.


United Nations chief me­di­a­tor for Syria, Staffan de Mis­tura (at cen­ter of video screen) briefs the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ear­lier this week in New York.

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