UN chief hails 'landmark' meeting on Syria constitution

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday (October 31st) hailed as a "landmark" the first meeting of a committee comprising Syrian government and opposition negotiators, tasked with amending the war-torn country's constitution.

On Wednesday, the two sides sat face-to-face in Geneva for the launch of the constitutional review committee's work, AFP reported.

"Yesterday's first meeting of the Constitutional Committee was a landmark, a foundation for progress," Guterres told a conference on mediation in Istanbul organised by the Turkish government.

"I hope this will be the first step towards a political solution that will end this tragic chapter in the lives of the Syrian people, also to create the opportunity for all Syrians to return to their places of origin, in safety and dignity, to end their status as refugees," he said.

The UN-brokered committee includes 150 delegates -- divided equally among President Bashar al-Assad's government, the opposition and civil society.

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