UN eyes Syria deal on constitutional committee

The UN has clinched a deal between Syrian stakeholders on the line-up of a committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for the war-ravaged country, AFP reported Thursday (September 19th).

"There is now an agreement among all parties on the composition of the committee," UN chief Antonio Guterres said during a press conference on the upcoming UN General Assembly.

UN Syria envoy Geir Pedersen "is doing the final work with the parties in relation to the terms of reference and we hope that this will be very soon concluded", Guterres said.

Years of UN-sponsored peace negotiations have failed to end the conflict that erupted in 2011 and Pedersen has focused his efforts on the creation of a constitutional committee.

The list of its members has been highly contentious, with the Syrian regime taking issue with some of the proposed names.

The committee is due to include 150 members, a third picked by the regime, another by the opposition and the remaining third by the UN.

"I hope that this will be a very important step in creating the conditions for a political solution for this tragic conflict," Guterres said.

Besides its composition, the mechanisms that will govern the committee's work are yet to be agreed upon, prompting fears among diplomats that concrete progress is still months away.

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