New UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen makes first visit to Syria

Envoy Geir Pedersen

The United Nations’ newly appointed Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for a three-day visit.

Upon his arrival, Pedersen spoke to reporters saying he is looking forward to substantial and productive talks with Damascus.

For the Norwegian diplomat, this is the first visit to the war-torn country since he assumed the post, following last year resignation of his predecessor, Staffan de Mistura.

Officials in the government of President Bashar al-Assad set the tone for the new envoy’s tenure shortly after news of his appointment in October last year.

Al-Assad’s opponents said the change in UN envoy would have little effect on the fate of the country as international will and consensus were lacking.

Pedersen is UN’s fourth envoy who will attempt to find a peaceful solution to the war-torn country since the conflict erupted in 2011.

Prior to his role as the UN special envoy to Syria, Pedersen was Norway’s ambassador to China. He also covered the role of Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN from 2012 to 2017.