The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Geir Pedersen expressed his annoyance over the failed discussion by the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC) regarding consensus on Country’s new Constitution. While briefing the media after the sixth round of talks and presentation of suggested reforms in the constitution by five groups of Syrian Constitution Committee (SCC) in Geneva, Pedersen termed it complete disappointment. According to him, the committee developed a work plan in such a way that different subjects were discussed every day. On the first day, a delegation from the Syrian government presented the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. Next day the opposition presented a draft version of the text of the constitution on issues related to the army, security forces and intelligence. Then the civil society/NGOs delegation presented the draft articles on the rule of law. On the fourth day, the government delegation came up with the fight against terrorism and extremism. According to the UN Special Envoy, the first three days went well, whereas the fourth day turned out to be quite difficult, and the fifth delegation cannot review the discussed points due to quarrelsome situations among the warring parties. Pederson was worried about how to push the consultation process forward to bridge the gap between the parties.
The UN envoy was of the view that the work on confidence building and development of understanding among the parties should be started to reach a consensus and minimize discrepancies. According to him, political will is required to find the right path and begin to minimize disagreements by identifying areas where there is common ground. The revelation of Guterres’s representative after two years of work is very interesting that after having done six rounds of negotiations among the opponents, the learned Diplomat wants to visualize the confidence building measures between the parties, whereas that was the time when result should be realized.
Presently, a 45 member Syrian Constitution Committee is working under the direction of UN Envoy for Syria, Mr. Geir Pedersen to achieve consensus on the structure of the future constitution of Syria. The United Nations started facilitating negotiations of the Syrian Constitution Committee (SCC) in September 2019 under UNSC Resolution 2254 of December 2015. The Syrian Constitution Committee was composed of representatives of three major groups including Bashir-ul-Asad’s regime, opposition, and members of the civil society/ NGOs.
The work of the committee largely remained slow due to noncooperation and self-centered approach of the parties. Over the period of two years, the constitution committee could not reach a consensus on broad lines of the constitution because all the three factions of the committee have their own priorities regarding the formation of a new legal framework of the country. The Syrian opposition wants separation of powers and transparency in elections, while the civil society opted for release of political prisoners and removal of western sanctions from the country. The Asad’s regime wants that its opponents formally agree with its definition of terrorism and denounce it.
In fact, the UN representative had assigned the duties of legislators to the armed gangsters, who failed to produce any positive result due to their combatant behavior over the last two years. Therefore, Pedersen must change his way to deal with such battlers.