U.N. envoy urges Syria charter meeting
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.