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DAMASCUS, Syria — The U.N.’s special envoy for Syria said “solid progress” was made after discussions Wednesday with officials in the Syrian capital, adding that talks are “very close to an agreement” on establishing a constitutional committee.

Geir Pedersen spoke to reporters after two meetings with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in Damascus. He did not offer details about the committee’s formation.

Formation of the committee, which is expected to be asked to draft a new constitution for Syria, is seen as key to any political process to end the country’s long-running civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.

The U.N. hopes that convening the constitutional committee under the organization’s auspices would be the first step toward a new constitution and new elections. The committee would be equally split between representatives chosen by the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition and civil-society groups.

The more-than yearlong effort to form the 150-member committee has been dogged by objections from Syria’s government over the 50-member list representing experts, independents, tribal leaders and women.

Print Headline: Envoy says Syria talks progressing

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