DARAMSUQ — On Sunday, U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen met with Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al-Muallem in Daramsuq (Damascus) to discuss the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva.
“All stages of the Committee’s work must be carried out under Syrian leadership and ownership only, and on the basis that only the Syrian people have the right to decide the future of their country,” al-Muallem stated.
The two sides stressed the importance of the success of the committee’s work, which requires adherence to established rules, especially external non-interference in its work and the absence of an externally imposed timetables.
Pedersen clarified that he discussed with al-Muallem issues related to application of U.N. Security Council Resolution No. 2254.
“The situation in northwestern and northeastern Syria was discussed in particular, in addition to the rest of the country in general,” Pedersen declared.
Pedersen pointed out that the ten-year conflict in Syria has caused immense suffering which has further worsened by the deteriorating economic situation and the virtually unchecked spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Despite governing roughly a third of the country and repeated calls for representation at the Geneva negotiations, the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria has been barred due to the objections of Turkey, the Turkish-backed opposition, and, more than likely, the Syrian regime.
During a Committee secession in Geneva in August, a heated discussion reportedly took place between U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn and the delegation of the Syrian Opposition Coalition.
Rayburn rebuked the opposition coalition delegation after they made pointed comments about the oil deal signed between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and a U.S. company to extract oil from the oil fields under SDF control in North and East Syria.
Rayburn went so far as to comment that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is more hostile to the DAA-affiliated SDF than the Syrian regime.