A new round of UN-mediated Syrian peace talks are starting this week in Geneva to agree on national principles before drafting a new constitution. Representatives from the government, opposition and civil society are among the attendees. The talks will continue for the entire week and will be followed by another round in January. Hadi al-Bahra is heading the opposition side, while Ahmad Kuzbari is representing the Syrian regime.
Geir Pedersen, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, has been pushing towards revising Syria's constitution as a step towards ending the country's nine-year-old civil war.
"We hope that what we have achieved is actually the beginning of starting to build trust between the parties,"
With a total of 45 people in the so-called constitutional committee, 15 seats each are allocated to government, opposition, and civil society. The committee was created a year ago but disagreements on the agenda and the pandemic delayed any early progress.
Syria's capital, Damascus hosted several diplomatic visits in the past few weeks . On his part, Pedersen also met with Turkish officials, the Arab League secretary-general and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
It is "important that we have clear international support for the work that we are doing, and I'm pleased to say that that has been forthcoming,"
It is hoped that agreeing on national principles will pave a way for future progress and open a door to a broader political process.