UNITED NATIONS, The UN special envoy for Syria, announced that, he will step down at the end of Nov, but hopes to put together a constitutional committee for the war-torn country by then. After serving for four years and four months, on the demanding job, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said, he decided to quit for "personal reasons." He told UN Security Council that the Syrian government has invited him to Damascus next week, where he plans to engage them on the composition of the constitutional committee.
A plan to draft a new Syrian constitution has been under discussion since Jan, when it was announced at a conference organised by Russia, a key Syrian ally, in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. But it has since been hampered by disagreement over the formation of the committee to draft the charter.
The Syrian government's and the opposition's lists for the committee, each comprising 50 names, "are not in question," said de Mistura, adding, however, objection remains, mainly from the government, over a third list that the UN is tasked to form, to include civil society representatives, religious and tribal leaders, experts and women. The UN envoy expressed his hope to "be in a position" to issue invitations, to convene the constitutional committee, hopefully during the month of Nov.
"The UN has done all it can to find a way to convene a credible and balanced constitutional committee," he said, pledging to do more and in an accelerated way in the forthcoming month, taking advantage of the "Idlib window of opportunity."
In Sept, Russia and Turkey, key stakeholders in Syria, agreed to set up a demilitarised zone between rebel and government fighters in the north-western province of Idlib, staving off a major government offensive on the area, which the UN had warned could cause a humanitarian catastrophe.
De Mistura is the third UN envoy for Syria, since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, after former UN chief, Kofi Annan and Algerian diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi, stepped down.
At a press encounter Wednesday, asked if he still believes in a political solution to the crisis, de Mistura said, it is still the key as "the alternative will be territorial gains and no sustainable peace. Our assessment is that, if there is a political will, there is no reason -- no reason whatsoever -- for the constitutional committee not to be able to be convened during the month of Nov," said de Mistura at the encounter.
De Mistura said, he will report back in Nov, to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the Security Council for them to draw conclusions on this issue. He expressed the hope that the conclusions will help his successor start from a clear and clean ground.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK