What was hoped to be a different round of Syria talks by the Constitutional Committee in Geneva ended up the same way as its predecessors, in disappointment. No new date has been set for the next meeting. UN Special Envoy Gere Pedersen described the constitutional committee talks as a “big disappointment”, thus playing down hopes and expectations that had risen during the first two days of the talks last week.
“We didn’t manage to achieve what we had hoped we would; have a good discussion on how to reach forward on some kind of consensus,” Pedersen told reporters. “We lacked a proper understanding of how to move that process forward.”
He added the last day of talks didn’t produce any understanding between the different delegations. Though he did not elaborate on what they disagreed on, the government and opposition representatives later traded blame for the failure.
The co-chairman from the opposition side Hadi al-Bahra said the government side did not produce any consensus paper, nor did it have the will to do so.
He told reporters on Friday that the regime refused to agree on any proposals in the committee, even on proposals that it presented itself.
Bahra added: “This is the sixth round of the committee’s meetings, more than two years since it was established, and after a break of 9 months due to the absence of a methodology in the discussions that leads to reaching results.”
He said that he tried to put together a formula that encompasses ideas taken from the documents provided by the regime, the opposition, and civil society. The regime however refused to compromise and did not come up with an alternative.
Bahra stressed that a complete working methodology should be put forward to ensure that the committee continues its work.
Head of the government delegation Ahmad al-Kuzbari said that his delegation discussed principles that reflect the aspirations of the Syrian people that came with a positive spirit “to do everything possible for the success of this round.”
Kuzbari also claimed that the proposals presented by some of the participants, which were unfortunately disconnected from reality, reflected in some aspects hostile agendas to the extent that some parts justified the illegal unilateral coercive measures that increased the suffering of the Syrian people.
He said that the national delegation noticed the insistence of the other delegation and its continuous attempts to make this round of talks a failure and make it not to come up with any result despite the effective contribution of the national delegation to make it a success.
The Kremlin’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said parties traded accusations on Wednesday but resumed constructive talks the next day after UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen worked on overcoming obstacles.
For his part, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy of the Russian President, Mikhail Bogdanov, discussed with Syria’s Ambassador in Moscow, Riad Haddad, the development in Syria and the region.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the talks dealt with issues related to pushing the political solution to the crisis in Syria forward, based on Security Council resolution No.2254.
No date for the next round
Pedersen said there was no agreement on a new date for the next meeting.
“We need to develop a proper understanding on how we could move this into a proper substantial drafting process,” Pedersen told reporters.