Press Remarks by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen on the Constitutional Committee

1 Nov 2019

Press Remarks by the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen on the Constitutional Committee

Good evening. I’m impressed to see all of you here so late. Thank you. We have just concluded a meeting of the Large Body. We had, as you all remember, a very good opening session on Wednesday. I think it was dignified, solemn and that we rose to the historic occasion. The last two days have also been very good. We, of course, all know that after eight and a half years of conflict, there are deep differences, a lot of suspicion, and a lack of trust. But the fact that 150 Syrians have been sitting together, respecting each other, talking to each other, discussing - according to the agenda that we agreed upon - the future of Syria, I think was quite impressive. Not only did we agree on an agenda, we also managed to agree on - via consensus - the Code of Conduct for the deliberations of the meetings, and also for the future. When I left, I said I was very impressed by the 150 members, and by the work of the two co-chairs who managed to bring us all together. I emphasized again, of course, that this is a Syrian process. It is led by Syrians, and it is owned by the Syrians, and it is all about meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people.

Before we adjourned the meeting today, we also agreed upon the 45 who will be working in the so-called drafting body, the 45 members, and they will then be meeting here on Monday. So on Monday, the work continues, and then we may see each other later in the week.

Thank you.

Question (inaudible):

Mr. Pedersen: Many of the 150 members spoke according to their own principles, and I think it was a rather detailed discussion also about the expectations for future constitutional arrangements for Syria. And on the 45, we have an agreement on all the 45.

Question: Mr. Pedersen, have all the delegations already confirmed their participants in the small group?

Mr. Pedersen: Yes, all have confirmed their participation in the Small Body. Indeed.

Question: President Assad said yesterday that his Government is not a part of these negotiations, and that the delegation that came from Damascus is a pro-Government delegation and he said there is no existence for Geneva and the reference is Sochi (inaudible).

Mr. Pedersen: I think I should read the speech before I comment on it. But I am very pleased as I said that we just finished a very successful meeting of the Large Body, and that we are continuing to work together and that the Small Body will be meeting on Monday.

Question: What is the timeline for the drafting body?

Mr. Pedersen: We will discuss that during the weekend.  Thank you.

Geneva, 1 November 2019