GENEVA - Syrian government and opposition delegates have begun meeting to draft a new constitution as a prelude to U.N.-supervised elections for their war-torn country.
After nearly nine years of war, U.N. mediator Geir Pedersen calls the meeting of Syria’s arch-enemies an historic moment. At the official launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, he welcomed members with words of encouragement and urged them to strive for a durable solution to years of division and suffering.
He said the first gathering of the committee of 150 government, opposition and civil society members brings together diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, as well as a wide spectrum of political leanings.
Pedersen added the varied composition of views and beliefs presents difficulties as well as opportunities for meaningful change.
“I know that it is not easy for all of you to be here together in this room, and I respect that… But the fact that you are here today sitting together face-to-face ready to start a dialogue and negotiations, is, I believe, a powerful sign of hope for Syrians everywhere, both inside and outside the country,” Pedersen said.
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