A date for the talks has not been set yet, although the option of doing the meeting virtually has been ruled out.
Opposing sides in the Syrian civil war have agreed to reconvene in Geneva for negotiations on the constitution, United Nations Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said on Tuesday, saying that it could provide the arena for bridging "deep, deep mistrust".
After nine years of conflict in Syria, Pedersen referred to "relative calm" in the last opposition-held enclave of Idlib as an opportunity for building confidence. He urged the United States and Russia, who support opposing sides, to start talks and back the peace process.
"As soon as the pandemic situation allows, they have agreed to come to Geneva and they have agreed on an agenda for the next meeting," Pedersen told reporters, referring to the government and opposition.
He did not give a date for the constitutional committee, which struggled to make headway last year, and said that a virtual meeting would not be possible.
"We need this to start somewhere," he said. "The Constitutional Committee could be that arena where confidence starts to build."
Pedersen is the fourth UN envoy to try to mediate peace in Syria where the opposition fighting regime leader Bashar al Assad are holding onto a last piece of territory in the northwest.
Geir Pedersen’s earlier encouragement to Moscow and Washington on Monday to take a leading role was his first public appeal to the rival powers on opposing sides of the conflict — Russia which has been the key backer of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad and the United States which supports some of the opposition.
Pedersen told the UN Security Council on Monday that the three countries that have taken the lead in arranging cease-fires in Syria — Assad allies Russia and Iran and opposition backer Turkey “are key players too.”
Fighting has calmed since March when Turkey, which backs some groups opposed to Assad, agreed a ceasefire with Russia.
He said members of a committee from the Syrian regime, opposition and civil society who are supposed to draft a new constitution for the country and the 15 council nations are key players as well.
Pedersen said there have been too many fleeting opportunities in the past decades to move from conflict to a political path that were lost, and “those missed moments were followed by renewed violence and a hardening of positions among regional and international actors.”
“We must not repeat this pattern,” he said.
He also said there is anxiety that while violence has somewhat abated at the moment it could escalate at any time, and deep disappointment that the political process hasn’t delivered tangible improvements for the Syrian people.
“And there is a widespread sense that international competition is more prominent than cooperation, with Syrians paying the price,” he told the UN's top council.
According to Pedersen it was a "great relief" that there had not been more Covid-19 cases in the country, although warned of the risk of a wider spread. He said there had been 64 cases.