Geir Pedersen calls for ninth round of Syrian Constitutional Committee’s talks in Geneva

The United Nations Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, briefed the Security Council on Syria on February 27, 2023 (UN/X)

The United Nations Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, briefed the Security Council on Syria on February 27, 2023 (UN/X)


The United Nations Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, announced the issuance of official invitations to hold the ninth round of the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC)’s meetings in Geneva at the end of next April.

During a briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday, February 27, Pedersen said that he would issue the invitations on the same day, expressing hope that the Syrian parties would respond positively, and he appealed to the key international parties to support the United Nations’ efforts as a facilitator and to refrain from intervening in the location of the Syrians’ meeting.

The UN envoy clarified in the briefing that the Constitutional Committee alone cannot resolve the conflict, and that Resolution “2254” addresses a wide range of issues, reminding everyone of the clear ideas regarding confidence-building measures, “step-for-step” approach, and addressing the fundamental elements of Resolution “2254”.

Pedersen expressed concern that some might feel that managing the conflict rather than resolving it is the easier path, emphasizing the need to pave the way and work towards a broader approach to resolving the conflict in line with Resolution “2254”.

The Syrian local newspaper al-Watan, which is close to the regime, headlined today, Wednesday, with “In an attempt to embarrass Russia, Pedersen calls for the ninth round of constitutional committee meetings in Geneva.”

The newspaper said, “Despite his knowledge of the Russian position regarding the location of the Constitutional Committee’s sessions, and the recent official confirmation by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, that the suspension of the works of the Constitutional Committee is due to the fact that Geneva has compromised its reputation as a neutral platform, and that Switzerland can no longer be considered a neutral venue, having openly taken an anti-Russian stance, the Special UN Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, extended the invitation for the ninth constitutional round.”

The newspaper attributed Pedersen’s call to embarrass Russia and show it as refusing to conduct the talks, according to unnamed sources.

Damascus considers options

On January 29, the Special Envoy of the Russian President to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said that the Constitutional Committee may hold a meeting in March.

Lavrentiev clarified that the potential meeting location might be chosen by mid or late February, noting that there is a need for more compromises in matters related to logistics, such as accommodation and hospitality, which typically take from two to three weeks.

The Russian official explained that after the withdrawal of Oman from the race to host the talks, alternative locations are currently being considered, and coordination will take place with the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, at a time when Damascus is examining the most acceptable options.

Pedersen was scheduled to visit Damascus in the second half of February, but al-Watan newspaper reported from its sources that the visit was set for mid-March.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee held its last session on June 3, 2022, and it was the eighth round. A new round of meetings had been scheduled before Russia opposed the continuation of Geneva hosting the committee’s meetings, as Switzerland lost its status as a neutral party, according to the Russian point of view influenced by Switzerland’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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