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.


Palestinian in car ramming shot by Israel forces: police

Updated 17 October 2019

Palestinian in car ramming shot by Israel forces: police

  • Israeli officials said he was holding a knife
  • No Israeli forces were wounded in the incident

JERUSALEM: A Palestinian was shot by Israeli security forces after ramming his car into a vehicle for undercover policemen in the occupied West Bank, police said Thursday.
Police were carrying out arrests overnight in the Al-Amari refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah when the Palestinian “attempted to run over the officers” and hit the armored police car, a statement said.
The officers saw the driver holding a knife and shot him, with police saying he was a Palestinian from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, without providing further details.
No Israeli forces were wounded in the incident.
A spokesman for the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem said the suspect was in serious condition.
Israeli forces carry out frequent raids and arrests in the occupied West Bank, which often lead to clashes.
In May 2018, an Israeli special forces soldier was killed during an arrest operation in Al-Amari after being hit on the head by a stone thrown from a rooftop.