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UN envoy arrives in Damascus for new talks

The UN special envoy for Syria arrived in Damascus on Tuesday (July 9th) to press fresh talks on forming a constitutional committee to revive a stalling peace process, AFP reported.

Geir Pedersen's visit, his fourth since January, comes as the Syrian regime and Russia have been carrying out deadly bombardment of the Idlib region.

"Hopeful we can move the political process forward with the constitutional committee as a door opener, and that we can find a way to end the violence in Idlib," Pedersen said in a social media post.

His predecessor, Staffan de Mistura, stepped down after a four-year tenure that ended with an abortive push to form the committee to draw up a post-war constitution.

The regime wants to amend the existing constitution, while the opposition has called for a new one entirely.

The committee is to be made up of 150 members, 50 chosen by the regime, the same number by the opposition, and another 50 selected by the UN envoy.

State media said Pedersen was set to meet senior officials from the foreign ministry on Wednesday.

Pedersen also said he hoped, during his visit, to "continue work on detainees, abductees, and missing persons" since the start of the conflict.

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