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Media stakeout by United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, after the security council briefing

30 April 2019

Special Envoy Pedersen: I was very pleased with the broad support to my five priorities from the Security Council. I am sure you listened just as carefully as I did to that.

As you heard, my first priority is to deepen the dialogue with the Syrian government and with the SNC, the opposition, to be able to build trust, confidence, and to see that tangible results can be achieved in Syria. So, we can start seeing changes taking place.

And I also highlighted that I will continue to try to meet a broad segment of the Syrian population. I have met with the refugees, IDPs inside Syria, I will continue to meet with businessmen and women, and of course with civil society and then all the aspects of women’s participation in the process.

A very important part of my work is to of course work on the issue of detainees, abductees and missing persons, and you would have heard what I said to the Council about the challenges related to that.

Then I also tried to make a new push for a new international format in support of the Geneva talks, and I will continue to work on that. As you know I was just in Nur Sultan meeting with Turkey, Iran and Russia, and on Friday in Geneva I will be meeting the with the Small Group.

All these questions will be on the table and we will be discussing that.

The last thing I have to mention, the constitutional committee, as you heard, we are making progress. When will it finish? I don’t know.

Al Jazeera: Special Envoy, you have been patiently working quite quietly away from us now for four months. I know you don’t want to be pushed on timelines. But are you hopeful you could finally get this constitutional committee together in Geneva this summer?

Special Envoy Pedersen: Yes, I am hopeful, I believe it should be possible to move forward, we have made tangible progress, on the discussion of the names and the rules of procedures. But, as you know very well, there is no agreement before everything is agreed. But yes, I am optimistic.

Asharq al Awsat: My question is, you seem to be quite optimistic about the future of the political process led by the UN. But still there are reports that the Astana meeting was not so successful, you couldn’t find solution for abductees, and also on the constitutional committee, although you were proposing some kind of format, they’re not acceptable. What makes you so optimistic?

Special Envoy Pedersen: Listen, I will not describe the level of optimism I have, but what is important is that I have, as I said, had intensive dialogue with the government and with the SNC, the opposition, and those discussions, have indeed been very good. They have been able to move forward. That is the basis for why I am saying that I am hopeful that it should be possible to move forward.

Al Hurra: Mr Pedersen, you are also asking for international support, or maybe platform, or group, are you talking about a new group, because we have already seen several groups before. Do you have a new list of countries in your mind that we can call for such a group, or are you talking about the old platform?

Special Envoy Pedersen: I am currently having a discussion with myself and with different international actors on this, and as I said, in the briefing to the SC, what I need I need is a committed group to come together and to support all the efforts of relaunching the political process in Geneva. When I will have more details, I will get back to you.

Al Hurra: So, you mean you are still in the brainstorming stage?

Special Envoy Pedersen: I believe I have achieved a little bit more than brainstorming. I am making progress there as well.

30 April 2019