United Nations: The United States along with several Arab and European countries called on a UN envoy Thursday to urgently set up a committee on drafting a post-war constitution for Syria and report on his progress by October 31.
The foreign ministers of the seven countries met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss steps to advance the political process in Syria, now in its eighth year of war.
In a joint statement, they backed the “urgent convening” of the committee by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura that would begin work on drafting a new constitution and lay the groundwork for elections.
The seven countries asked De Mistura to report back to the UN Security Council on his progress no later than October 31, setting a deadline for action, according to a joint statement.
Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Britain joined the United States, France and Saudi Arabia in warning that “those who seek a military solution will only succeed in increasing the risk of a dangerous escalation.”
Western diplomats say a recent agreement between Russia and Turkey to avert an all-out military assault on the rebel-held province of Idlib has created an opportunity to jump-start political talks.
De Mistura told the council this month that there were ongoing disputes between the Syrian government and opposition over the composition of the committee, first announced at a summit convened by Russia in January.
But the envoy said he hoped that the committee could begin work in the coming weeks.
More than 360,000 Syrians have died in the war and millions have been uprooted.