Syrian delegations, UN experts to tackle constitutional, legal issues: UN official

GENEVA, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The UN Syriaenvoy announced Thursday that the Syrian government, major opposition delegations, and the UN had agreed to kick off a series of expert meetings to discuss constitutional issues, one of the main points of the latest round of Syria peace talks.

"Earlier this week the Special Envoy informed the sides that he intended to establish a technical process to address constitutional and legal issues in the intra-Syrian talks," UN envoy Staffan de Mistura's Office said in a written statement.

According to the UN, an "early meeting" was planned to take place between Syrian government delegation experts and those of the UN on Thursday.

In a later statement, the UN said that "experts from the delegation of the Syrian opposition announced on Feb. 11 met today with experts from the Office of the Special Envoy, as an initial part of a process of expert meetings on legal and constitutional issues of relevance to the intra-Syrian talks".

The statements come just two days after the latest round of Syria peace talks seeking to broker a political end to the six-year conflict started on May 16.

Before UN-mediated talks kicked off, de Mistura confirmed that proximity meetings would focus on governance, a new constitution, elections, and the war on terrorism.

The diplomat also stated that negotiations between rival delegations would be shorter and more business-like than usual, with this round of talks slated to end either this Friday or Saturday.

The latest round of intra-Syrian peace talks will be the third to take place between warring factions since the start of this year.

While some progress on the humanitarian front has been achieved, opposing delegations remain at odds as to what a future, peaceful Syria, might look like.

De Mistura's job is to help bridge the wide gaps between rival factions, while ensuring that any outcome is in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

Despite the lack of headway on the political track, the UN stands by its commitment to pursue peace through political negotiations to prevent further bloodshed in a country where as many as 400,000 people have died and millions more have fled their homes.

[ Editor: meng ]


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