Worth going ‘extra mile’ for a new Syrian constitution, UN envoy urges

UN Photo/Violaine Martin Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, briefs the press after the Joint Meeting on Syria, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. 18 December 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Efforts to establish a constitutional committee for Syria are worth going the “extra mile” for, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday, after meeting the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey – guarantors of a fragile ceasefire in the wartorn country – who agreed that it should convene for the first time early next year, in Geneva.

Speaking to journalists in the Swiss city, the veteran negotiator confirmed that he had held “intensive” consultations with Sergey Lavrov (Russia), Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey) and Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran).

“In close consultation with the Secretary-General, I believe that there is an extra mile to go in the marathon effort to ensure the necessary package for a credible, balanced and inclusive constitutional committee,” Mr de Mistura said, “and for including a balanced chairing arrangement and drafting body and voting threshold – to be established under UN auspices in Geneva.”

The establishment of a 150-member constitutional committee for Syria was agreed at peace talks held in Sochi, Russia, in January, with a view to creating a new more inclusive system of governance in Syria, in the post-war era.

At a UN Security Council briefing in October, Mr de Mistura noted that the Government of Syria had proposed that the UN withdraw a list of 50 individuals that the organization had suggested should serve on the committee.

This “Middle Third List” included delegates that represented Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women.

At what was likely his last press conference in Geneva before stepping down as UN Special Envoy for Syria after more than four years in the post, Mr de Mistura explained that he would be going to UN headquarters in New York to consult with the Secretary-General and to brief the Security Council on developments on Thursday.

His comments come after more than seven years of conflict that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, displaced millions and destroyed Syria’s economy and infrastructure.

Noting that his successor, Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen, would start work on 7 January, Mr de Mistura stressed “the determination of the UN to continue its efforts for the Syrian people. I would like to underline the importance of the international community to unite as one in the period ahead to enable the political process as mandated by the Security Council to move forward.”

Veteran negotiator stepping down for personal reasons

Despite having to deal with numerous challenges during his time as a UN Envoy, Mr de Mistura said he was stepping down for personal, not professional, reasons.

“I am not tired, I am not frustrated, in our job we cannot afford to be frustrated, otherwise you would not be a mediator,” he said. “You can’t be a doctor and be frustrated by diseases. But I did so because a: at a certain point you need to draw a line on your personal life as well, at least for a period. And b: because I found an excellent successor who I know will be not only doing along the lines of what we have done, but do even better”.

Mr de Mistura highlighted Mr Guterres’s “appreciation” of the efforts by Iran, Russia and Turkey to work with each other “and the Syrian parties” on the constitutional committee, as well as other high-level meetings.

These included an encounter between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Danang in 2017, the UN official noted, and another between the Presidents of France, Germany, Russia and Turkey in October this year.

“These consultations were a key part of our own intensive effort at the request of the Secretary-General to fundamentally advance the possibility of establishing a Syrian-owned, Syrian-led, UN-facilitated constitutional committee in order to draft for a popular approval a constitutional reform,” Mr de Mistura said, “as a contribution to the political settlement in Syria that gives effect to the Sochi Final Statement of 30 January 2018, within the context of the Geneva process to implement Security Council resolution 2254”.

Ahead of the UN Special Envoy’s press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov read a joint statement outlining the “positive results” of consultations by Russia, Turkey and Iran with Syrian parties over the composition of the constitutional committee.

Its work should be “governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement”, Mr Lavrov said, adding that the aim was for it to receive “the widest possible support” of Syrians, leading to “the launch of a viable and lasting Syrian-led, Syrian-owned and UN-facilitated political process”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

‘Negative forces’ at work in DR Congo threaten ‘largely peaceful’ relations across Great Lakes region, says outgoing UN envoy

All sides in Yemen conflict could be guilty of war crimes, UN experts find

EU and China discuss economic and trade relations at the 7th High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

100 years on, UN labour agency mission focussed on growing inequality, says Director-General

Groundbreaking cancer-fighting drugs now included in updated UN list of essential medicines

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Large parts of the world are growing more fragile. Here are 5 steps to reverse course

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

This is what the gender pay gap looks like in eight countries

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Mobile 360 Africa 11-13 July 2017

‘Virginity testing’: a human rights violation, with no scientific basis – UN

Latest tragedy in the Mediterranean claims over 100 lives – UN refugee agency

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Korea should adapt its migration programmes to ensure continued success in the face of expected challenges

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

A Valentine’s Special: we can never overdose on love

Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

The megatrend that will shape our working future

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

Haiti stands ‘at the crossroads’ between peacekeeping, development – Bachelet urges strengthened ‘human rights protection’

Joint UN, OSCE engagement can address crisis in Ukraine, other ‘dark spots of conflict’ in Europe

Basel III rules relaxed: Banks got it all but become more prone to crisis

Two major EU projects falter; the Schengen Agreement now freezes and Eurozone fails to resolve the Greek enigma

What has a year of experiments taught us about basic income?

Who can compel Wallonia to unlock CETA, the EU-Canada free trade pack?

Eurozone: GDP development heads to naught; the expensive euro serves only Germany

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

Anti-vaccination movement affecting youth in Europe

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Innovating together: connectivity that matters

Future of EU farming: MEPs push for modern common policy with fair funding

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

Why Eurozone needs a bit more inflation

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s