PREVIEW - UN Envoy For Syria Pedersen To Visit Damascus On Sunday To Discuss Political Settlement

PREVIEW - UN Envoy for Syria Pedersen to Visit Damascus on Sunday to Discuss Political Settlement

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 21st February, 2021) UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen will pay a visit to the middle Eastern country on Sunday to discuss efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing conflict with the country's leadership and opposition.

The UN envoy will visit Damascus to continue consultations on the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee after discussing the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow and as part of Astana-format talks in Russia's Sochi earlier this week.

The most recent fifth round of the Syrian Constitutional Committee's small body mediated by Pedersen was held in Geneva in late January. The UN envoy called the talks a "disappointment," as nothing was achieved on certain agenda issues the diplomat had defined before the start of the session.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee is a 150-strong body with equally-sized delegations from the government, opposition and civil society that is tasked with rewriting the nation's constitution amid conflicting issues.

The Middle Eastern country has been plunged into a civil war for a decade now, with President Bashar Assad's forces fighting against different insurgent groups. As of now, the country's authorities focus primarily on the political settlement of the ongoing crisis. Throughout the conflict, Russia has played a crucial role in resolving it by providing military support to the Syrian government along with humanitarian assistance and medical help to the people of the country.

The so-called Astana trio Russia, Turkey and Iran has been trying to bring the conflicting sides together to achieve peaceful settlement since the first meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana (now Nur Sultan) in January 2017.

The latest two-day round of the trilateral talks, which started in the Black Sea port city of Sochi on Tuesday, was focused on the work of the UN-brokered Syrian Constitutional Committee that has not reached any tangible progress yet. The committee's failure is due to the fact that the sides proved unable to agree on a number of key issues.

Following the Astana-format talks in Sochi, the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations vowed to continue cooperation until the Islamic State, Nusra and terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda (all the three banned in Russia) or other groups are fully eliminated, while "ensuring the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure in line with international humanitarian law." The sides also expressed concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria and urged UN agencies, especially the World Health Organization, to prioritize vaccination of the population in the country.