Tuesday 16 July 2019
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The News - 3 days ago

?Talks on post-war Syria constitution to continue?

DAMASCUS: Syria s President Bashar al-Assad said on Friday discussions would continue over the composition of a body to draw up a post-war constitution for the country.Meeting with Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev, the president discussed ongoing efforts towards creating a committee to discuss the constitution , the presidency said. Assad and Moscow s representative agreed to continue working and intensely coordinate between both sides on the next steps , it said in a statement. On Wednesday, the Syrian government and visiting UN envoy Geir Pedersen announced progress towards forming the body, whose composition has dragged for more than 17 months.Disagreements have raged over the names to be included in the committee, a third of which are to be nominated by the regime, another by the opposition, and a final third by the UN envoy.Damascus hopes to amend the current constitution, while the opposition wants to write a new one from scratch. The UN envoy met the Syrian Negotiation Commission opposition grouping late on Thursday to discuss the results of Pedersen s latest visit to Damascus , it said on Twitter, without further details.Pro-government newspaper Al-Watan on Tuesday reported that a body could start work as early as September if Damascus agreed to Pedersen s list. Last month, the United States said it was time to scrap the constitutional committee initiative and come up with other ways to end the war.Numerous rounds of UN-led peace talks have failed to end a war that has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests. In recent years, a parallel negotiations track led by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey has taken precedence.

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