U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen: Fifth round of Syria Constitutional Committee talks achieved nothing

GENEVA — The fifth round of meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee being held in Geneva concluded this week having made no progress towards a political solution.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that, “As with the past four rounds, the Assad regime delegation has gone off the agenda and moved to introduce the constitutional reform process into the pit of sovereignty, Arabism, and terrorism.”

At the latest round of talks, the basic principles of a new constitution were supposed to be discussed. However, the discussions were quickly bogged down by the representatives of the Syrian regime, likely seeking to stall until the presidential election scheduled for April.

The lack of attention given to the latest round of talks by official regime media outlets is an indication that Damascus has little interest in pursuing the talks in earnest. Whereas the previous rounds of the Constitutional Committee received some attention in official government media, the latest round has received virtually none.

In his closing speech at the meetings, U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen expressed his dissatisfaction with the results of the fifth round of the committee’s meetings.

“The fifth round did not achieve anything,” said Pedersen. “We even did not agree on the sessions methodology,” he declared, indicating that they will not be able to continue if work continues in this way.

In his press conference after the session, Pedersen repeated what he had told the three delegations that the meetings were disappointing because it began without specifying a methodology as the Syrian regime rejected the opposition proposal.

When asked a question on the party responsible about U.N. disappointment, Pedersen evaded the question, stating that his meetings with the delegations will continued and intensify in the coming days.