Transcript of press stakeout of United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen after meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and expatriates Mr. Faisal Mikdad

Question: Mr. Pedersen: How would you describe the discussion?

Another question: It was a long meeting, something good?

Mr. Pedersen: We had an in-depth discussion as you can understand, it lasted for more than two hours. We went through in quite some detail all the challenges facing Syria, obviously, we looked at the military situation, the economic situation, the humanitarian situation and of course, the political process linked to that.

**Question: Sir, anything new about the economic sanctions? Any change about them? **

Mr. Pedersen: So, what we discussed was the, I highlighted the importance of what I see as the possibilities of new openings also for the political process. As you know, I have been traveling extensively among some Arab countries, and I have had in-depth discussions with the Americans and with the Europeans, and we will also follow up with others, and I see that there is a possibility now to start to explore what I call a step-for-step approach - where we put on the table, you know, steps that are defined with precision, that is verifiable, and that hopefully can start to build some trust, and of course issues linked to the humanitarian situation, the economic challenges in Syria will have to be an integral part of that.

We also, of course, as always, touched up on the issue of detainees, the abductees, and the missing persons, and then we discussed also the challenges related to the Constitutional Committee, and as I said, it was in-depth and good discussion on all these issues.

Can you expect any positive results?

Mr. Pedersen: We will see. I will now continue my discussions with the Co-Chair nominated by the government for the Constitutional Committee and I will be meeting with him now, and I will then, of course, follow up also with the SNC and hopefully we can have some positive news in the not-too-distant future.

Question: Is there a date for the next round?

Mr. Pedersen: Pardon, a date, there is so far no date.

Question: There are some changes towards Syria, especially by Arab countries, will it help move the political solution and why?"

Mr. Pedersen: I think, as I said, I think, we should now analyze not only the Arabs, but also the American position, the European, the Turkish, the Russian, the Iranian and of course, also the development in Syria. And my message is that there is now a possibility to start to explore possible avenues to start to move forward on this process, and I hope to continue these consultations in Geneva also in the near future.

Thank you so much, thank you.

Damascus, 12 December 2021