Intra-Syrian talks end with ‘incremental progress’: UN negotiator

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UNITED NATIONS, May 20 (APP): United Nations-facilitated talks to help resolve the Syrian conflict have ended on schedule in Geneva, where UN negotiator Staffan de Mistura said he was satisfied that some progress had been made, and that there had been “less rhetoric” on all sides.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva after his meetings with delegations from the Syrian Government and opposition, as well as representatives from Russia and the United States, the UN Special Envoy said that he would look to hold further intra-Syrian talks “sometime in June.”
De Mistura underlined that the purpose of this short round of discussions was to address “constitutional and legal issues” which could provide a “strong, legal and constitutional basis” for any future negotiated political process.
The mechanism for this was a series of high-level meetings in Geneva, which the Special Envoy explained were meant to complement the existing intra-Syrian talks.
But only the Syrian people “and not the UN” would be in charge of writing their own constitution, he insisted: “We are not planning or aiming through this to draft a new constitution for Syria; this has to be done by the Syrians. We are rather trying, and we intend to pursue trying to lay the ground for the Syrians to do exactly that, in the context of an overall political solution that is in the context as you know, of [UN Security Council] resolution 2254 (2015).”
In addition to a new constitution for Syria, the UN-facilitated process remains focused on three other main issues: free and fair elections, combating terrorism and governance.