UN and Syria ‘close’ to agreeing constitutional committee

United Nations special envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen speaks to journalists upon his arrival in the Syrian capital Damascus Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019

UN and Syria ‘close’ to agreeing constitutional committee

  • UN Syria envoy Gerd Pedersen made the statement after meeting the Syrian foreign minister
  • A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said significant progress had been made in the talks

DAMASCUS: The United Nations is close to agreement with Syria on setting up a constitutional committee, a long-awaited step in a stalled peace process, the UN Syria envoy said on Wednesday.
"I believe we have made a very solid progress and we are very close to have agreement on establishing the constitutional committee," Gerd Pedersen told reporters after meeting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem.
The United Nations wants to convene the committee as a next step in efforts to find a political solution to end the war in Syria, but there has been no agreement so far on who should be on it.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said significant progress had been made in the talks, but also reiterated its previous stance that the constitutional committee should be a purely Syrian affair.
Pedersen also called for a return to stability in Idlib province, where a government offensive has targeted the last major rebel stronghold, and said a truce there agreed last year between Russia and Turkey should come back into force.
Russia is along with Iran the main supporter of President Bashar al-Assad, who now controls most of the country, while Turkey backs some of the rebel groups in Idlib and adjacent areas.


UAE’s equal pay law for men, women in private sector takes effect

Updated 3 min 20 sec ago

UAE’s equal pay law for men, women in private sector takes effect

  • The draft was first approved by the UAE cabinet in 2018
  • The UAE ranked 26th globally in the United Nations Development Programmes’ 2019 Gender Inequality Index

DUBAI: A presidential decree mandating equal pay for men and women in the private sector took effect on Friday, state news agency WAM reported.

The new law stated that “female employees shall receive wages equal to that of males if they perform the same work or another of equal value.”

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan issued a decree to implement the new legislation, which was first approved by the country’s cabinet in 2018.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization said the new law elevated the country’s regional and international reputation in gender equality.

A World Economic Forum report published earlier this year claimed the UAE was a regional leader in bridging the gender pay gap.

“Congratulations to all the women working in the UAE private sector. This step will undoubtedly boost the social inclusivity of women, support their role in national development, and advance the UAE’s status on the world’s Gender Equality Index,” President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed, said on Twitter.

The UAE ranked 26th globally in the United Nations Development Programmes’ 2019 Gender Inequality Index.