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Syrian Constitutional Committee to meet on 23 November 2020 in Geneva



           


Geir O.Pedersen tries to bring closer the points of view between the Syrian parties (photo: UN)
Geir O.Pedersen tries to bring closer the points of view between the Syrian parties (photo: UN)
SYRIA. The members of the Syrian committee in charge of drafting a new constitution are struggling to agree and were unable to meet in October 2020 as planned. Geir O. Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria, speaks of "differences on the agenda" in a statement issued Tuesday evening, October 27, 2020, after his intervention by videoconference before the UN Security Council.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria has been working for more than a month to bridge the gap in this body made up of representatives of the current government, the opposition and civil society. And destined to close the chapter of a decade-long civil war.

Geir O. Pedersen is confident, however, and hopes to bring together, in a restricted format, all the Syrian parties on 23 November 2020 in Geneva within this Constitutional Committee. "Some key stakeholders have indicated that they consider the military phase of the conflict to be over," he says. "The front lines have not changed for about eight months, and the number of civilians killed in recent months is, according to groups monitoring this figure, at its lowest since 2011," he continued. A ceasefire was signed on 5 March 2020 under the auspices of Turkey and Russia.

Mark Lowcock, UN humanitarian chief, however, notes "an alarming degree of insecurity that continues in the regions of Idlib, Afrin and Azaz to Jarablus.

An alarming humanitarian situation

The agreement between the Syrians to re-establish uncontested power becomes urgent with the Covid-19 crisis. As Mark Lowcock points out, "health facilities in some regions would be unable to absorb all the suspected cases. He cites in particular urban centres such as Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, but also IDP camps and overcrowded collective shelters in the North-West and North-East of the country. "The UN's response to the Covid-19 in Syria requires an additional $211 million, including to maintain sanitation supply lines; improve water and sanitation in IDP camps and shelters; and make schools safer for returning students and teachers," said the UN humanitarian chief.

Another urgent issue he notes is that food prices, although relatively stable in August and September, remain more than 90% higher than six months ago, with a 236% year-on-year increase.

Read also: No one has clean hands in the Syrian conflict according to the UN Special Commission on Syria


Frédéric Dubessy


Wednesday, October 28th 2020



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