HNC: "Pedersen visited Damascus to discuss several issues and most importantly detainees"
Turkey - SMART
On Saturday, Yehia al-Aridi, the official spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Riyadh II Conference said that the United Nations special envoy to Syria, Geir O. Pedersen met with the Syrian government in Damascus to discuss several issues and most importantly detainees.
The HNC for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, founded in 2015, aims to form a negotiating delegation that represents the Syrian Revolution Forces in the Geneva talks.
Al-Aridi reported that Pedersen discussed humanitarian issues and the issue of the detainees in Syrian government prisons. Pederson also discussed the implementation of UN resolution 2254 and how to reach a political solution in Syria, under the supervision of the UN.
Al-Aridi added that the UN envoy met with HNC members after his visit to Damascus and discussed the same issues with them. Al-Aridi said that Pedersen and the members reviewed the situation in the Idlib governorate and areas of Northeastern Syria. Al-Ardidi stated that all parties involved in the Syrian conflict had exploited Syria.
Regarding the constitutional committee, al-Aridi said, "There is no news about the matter; it is still under study (…), but surely Mr. Pedersen has a plan for a political solution."
The next round of the Astana Talks will be held in mid-February and will focus on the field situation in Idlib and areas in Northeastern Syria, according to al-Aridi.
On Thursday, Pedersen finished his first visit to Damascus to meet with the Syrian government, and he later met with the HNC head, Naser al-Hariri, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Pederson is seeking to reach a political solution in Syria, under the supervision of the UN, and his predecessor, Staffan de Mistura. De Mistura failed to form the constitutional committee that was suggested by the Astana Talks' three guarantors, Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
De Mistura was under American and European pressure to choose the 50 members of the constitutional committee, but the Syrian government continued to refuse any intervention by the UN in the formation of the committee.
On Dec. 18, 2018, after a meeting with the UN, Russia, Iran, and Turkey agreed to make efforts to launch the constitutional committee in Syria in early 2019.