Washington hosts in the next two days a meeting for the “small group” on Syria to guarantee a unified position of its allies for when the Syrian file transfers from U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura to his successor, veteran Norwegian ambassador Geir Pederson, at the end of this year.
Ambassador James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, is expected to head the meeting of the “small group” that includes France, Germany, Britain, and the U.S., as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
The U.S. administration of President Donald Trump began paying greater attention to the Syrian file since the appointment of Mike Pompeo as U.S. Secretary of State and after handing over the Syrian file to Jeffrey and a former top National Security Council officer, Joel Rayburn.
Participants at the “small group” meeting are expected to focus on the fate of the constitutional committee based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and an agreement reached at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi last January.
Late last month, Syria’s warring sides and mediators meeting in Kazakhstan failed to agree on the formation of a committee meant to draft a new constitution for the war-torn country.
De Mistura already received the consent of the three guarantor states to establish a 150-member committee comprising of 50 representatives of the government and 50 of the opposition. However, de Mistura said Damascus had objected to 50 members of the committee representing civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women.
Washington is currently exerting pressure on the U.N. envoy to call for a meeting of the Constitutional Committee within a given timeframe and based on the list, which de Mistura had formed earlier, without waiting for the position of the Syrian government.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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