UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen arrived in Damascus on Sunday, as part of a move aimed at reviving the Constitutional Committee’s work and launching a new round of talks.
The Assad regime’s media outlet published pictures of Pedersen during his meeting with the regime’s foreign minister, Faisal al-Mekdad.
“We had important discussions that lasted for more than two hours, during which we discussed several matters and the challenges facing Syria, in terms of the military, economic, and humanitarian situations,” Pedersen was quoted as saying by al-Watan newspaper, which has close ties to the regime.
“It can be said that there are opportunities to relaunch the political process,” Pedersen said, describing his discussions with Mekdad as “useful and profound.”
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On setting the date for the next round of Constitutional Committee meetings, Pedersen stressed that “so far there is no date for a new round of negotiations in Geneva.”
“I have had several meetings in several Arab countries as well as with the Americans and Europeans. I think that there is a serious opportunity to discuss the possibility of implementing a step-by-step approach, to build trust,” Pedersen said.
“We need to determine exactly what the steps will be, ensuring that these steps are linked to the humanitarian and economic situations,” he said.
“In my discussions with Arab, American, and European officials, I sensed the real possibility of opening up to Damascus,” Pedersen said.
For his part, Mekdad reiterated the regime’s demands not to allow “external interference” in the Constitutional Committee’s work, which should focus on facilitating “a Syrian-Syrian dialogue.”
Pedersen spoke from Damascus about implementing a “step-by-step” approach to the Assad regime, a policy pursued by some countries in their rapprochement with Damascus.
The “step-by-step” policy is for Washington and its allies to lift or ease some sanctions on the regime, in exchange for Moscow pushing the regime to make progress on the stalled attempts at reaching a political solution.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.