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Transcript of remarks to the press by Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, after greeting a group of Syrian women who held a vigil in Geneva

23 February 2017


SdM: Syrian women who are Syrian mothers, Syrian wives, Syrian daughters, who are representing symbolically all those Syrian men, women, sometimes children who are being arrested, abducted or missing, both by the government, by the opposition they are being abducted or missing in this horrible conflict.

They were sending me, and through me to everyone, the message that while we are going to talk about the future of Syria, we should not forget those who are still either detained or abducted, or missing. Because there are thousands and thousands of mothers, wives, daughters who are hoping that at least this aspect will be one of the benefits of any negotiations, and I cannot disregard that because I feel very strongly like they do.

So that is the meaning of this meeting, and the rest we will inform you later. We are preparing as you know for other sessions that are taking place later in the afternoon, towards the end of the afternoon. We are waiting for the delegations to all be here, and to be able also to have an initial bilateral meeting with them, but I am planning to have some type of welcoming opportunity for them, to those who have been invited later this afternoon but you will be informed by Alessandra, thank you very much.

Q: (Question about the issue of detainees)

SdM: I am not going to say anything more than that I said but you can be sure that we will be constantly raising detainees, abducted and missing people, thank you.