UN chief appoints Norway’s Geir Pedersen as new Syria envoy

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the appointment of veteran Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen as the UN’s special envoy for Syria. Guterres said on Wednesday Pedersen brings to the job decades of political and diplomatic experience for his government and the UN, most recently as Norway’s ambassador to China and before that as its UN ambassador. Pedersen will succeed Staffan de Mistura, who announced this month that he was stepping down at the end of November for family reasons after four years and four months of trying to end the conflict. De Mistura reiterated this week that he is engaged in a final effort to advance toward a new constitution for Syria. However, he said objections from the Syrian government are still holding up the launch of a committee meant to draft a new constitution, AP reported.