Time to scrap UN push for Syria committee: US

The US on Thursday (June 27th) said it was time to scrap a 17-month effort to form a constitutional committee for Syria and come up with other diplomatic initiatives to bring the country closer to peace, AFP reported.

The UN drive to set up a committee tasked with drafting a post-war constitution has been bogged down in disagreements with the Syrian regime on the makeup of the body.

Under the plan, opposition and civil society representatives would take part in the negotiations.

US acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen told the Security Council that progress toward forming the new body remained "out of reach" and that the committee was unlikely to ever be formed.

"The time has come for the council to encourage special envoy [Geir] Pedersen to try other routes to achieving the political solution," Cohen told the council.

Pedersen told the council he hoped to finalise details in the near future on the committee, first agreed upon during a conference in Russia in January 2018.

The US said Pedersen should instead focus on preparing nationwide elections in which Syrian refugees would be allowed to vote, securing the release of detainees and establishing a nationwide ceasefire.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said Moscow expected a "breakthrough" soon in the launch of the committee following recent talks between Russian and Syrian officials.

France told Pedersen he should notify the council when all efforts to set up the committee have been exhausted.

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