UPDATES FOR CORRESPONDENTS
28 December - Joint statement by the UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross
26 December - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Special Envoy for Syria
Further to resolution 2254 (2015) of the Security Council, unanimously adopted on 18 December 2015, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, has intensified efforts towards convening representatives of the Syrian Government and the broadest possible spectrum of the Syrian opposition and others to engage in a political process leading towards implementation of the objectives and principles for a political solution to the Syrian conflict as contained in the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012, and the Vienna Statements of 30 October and 14 November 2015.
In line with the clear parameters outlined in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the Special Envoy intends to complete his consultations in early January, with a view to initiating intra-Syrian talks on a target date of 25 January 2016 in Geneva. He counts on full cooperation of all the relevant Syrian parties in this process. Continuing developments on the ground should not be allowed to derail it. The Special Envoy also relies on the continued crucial support of the International Syria Support Group.
The people of Syria have suffered enough. Their tragedy is now felt throughout the region and beyond. They deserve the full attention and commitment from all their Syrian representatives, who should now show leadership and vision to overcome differences for the sake of Syria.
Geneva, 26 December 2015.
11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting
24 November: Statement attributable to the spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group
Vienna, November 14, 2015
Meeting in Vienna on November 14, 2015 as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States to discuss how to accelerate an end to the Syrian conflict. The participants began with a moment of silence for the victims of the heinous terrorist attacks of November 13 in Paris and the recent attacks in Beirut, Iraq, Ankara, and Egypt. The members unanimously condemned in the strongest terms these brutal attacks against innocent civilians and stood with the people of France.
Subsequently, the participants engaged in a constructive dialogue to build upon the progress made in the October 30 gathering. The members of the ISSG expressed a unanimous sense of urgency to end the suffering of the Syrian people, the physical destruction of Syria, the destabilization of the region, and the resulting increase in terrorists drawn to the fighting in Syria.
The ISSG acknowledged the close linkage between a cease fire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously. They stated their commitment to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communique in its entirety. The group reached a common understanding on several key issues.
The group agreed to support and work to implement a nationwide cease fire in Syria to come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards the transition under UN auspices on the basis of the Geneva Communique. The five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council pledged to support a UNSC resolution to empower a UN-endorsed cease fire monitoring mission in those parts of the country where monitors would not come under threat of attacks from terrorists, and to support a political transition process in accordance with the Geneva Communique.
All members of the ISSG also pledged as individual countries and supporters of various belligerents to take all possible steps to require adherence to the cease fire by these groups or individuals they support, supply or influence. The cease fire would not apply to offensive or defensive actions against Da’esh or Nusra or any other group the ISSG agrees to deem terrorist.
The participants welcomed UN Secretary General Ban’s statement that he has ordered the UN to accelerate planning for supporting the implementation of a nationwide cease fire. The group agreed that the UN should lead the effort, in consultation with interested parties, to determine the requirements and modalities of a cease fire.
The ISSG expressed willingness to take immediate steps to encourage confidence-building measures that would contribute to the viability of the political process and to pave the way for the nationwide cease fire. In this context, and pursuant to clause 5 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG discussed the need to take steps to ensure expeditious humanitarian access throughout the territory of Syria pursuant to UNSCR 2165 and called for the granting of the UN’s pending requests for humanitarian deliveries. The ISSG expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries. The resolution of the refugee issue is important to the final settlement of the Syrian conflict. The ISSG also reaffirmed the devastating effects of the use of indiscriminate weapons on the civilian population and humanitarian access, as stated in UNSCR 2139. The ISSG agreed to press the parties to end immediately any use of such indiscriminate weapons.
The ISSG reaffirmed the importance of abiding byall relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UNSCR 2199 on stopping the illegal trade in oil, antiquities and hostages, from which terrorists benefit.
Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, incorporated by reference in the Vienna statement of October 30, and in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the ISSG agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1. The group welcomed efforts, working with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and others, to bring together the broadest possible spectrum of the opposition, chosen by Syrians, who will decide their negotiating representatives and define their negotiating positions, so as to enable the political process to begin. All the parties to the political process should adhere to the guiding principles identified at the October 30 meeting, including a commitment to Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character; to ensuring that State institutions remain intact; and to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination. ISSG members agreed that these principles are fundamental.
The ISSG members reaffirmed their support for the transition process contained in the2012 Geneva Communique. In this respect they affirmed their support for a cease fire as described above and for a Syrian-led process that will, within a target of six months, establish credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance, and set a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution. Free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months. Theseelections must be administered under UN supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, and pursuant to clause 6 of the Vienna Communique, the ISSG reiterated that Da’esh, Nusra, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants and endorsed by the UN Security Council, must be defeated. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan agreed to help develop among intelligence and military community representatives a common understanding of groups and individuals for possible determination as terrorists, with a target of completion by the beginning of the political process under UN auspices.
The participants expect to meet in approximately one month in order to review progress towards implementation of a cease fire and the beginning of the political process.
6 November - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria
2 October - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura
22 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
13 September - Statement of the Special Envoy for Syria to the Ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States
Meeting in Vienna, on October 30, 2015, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States [“the participants”] came together to discuss the grave situation in Syria and how to bring about an end to the violence as soon as possible.
The participants had a frank and constructive discussion, covering major issues. While substantial differences remain among the participants, they reached a mutual understanding on the following:
1) Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and secular character are fundamental.
2) State institutions will remain intact.
3) The rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, must be protected.
4) It is imperative to accelerate all diplomatic efforts to end the war.
5) Humanitarian access will be ensured throughout the territory of Syria, and the participants will increase support for internally displaced persons, refugees, and their host countries.
6) Da'esh, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the U.N. Security Council, and further, as agreed by the participants, must be defeated.
7) Pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, the participants invited the U.N. to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections. These elections must be administered under U.N. supervision to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, free and fair, with all Syrians, including the diaspora, eligible to participate.
8) This political process will be Syrian led and Syrian owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.
9) The participants together with the United Nations will explore modalities for, and implementation of, a nationwide ceasefire to be initiated on a date certain and in parallel with this renewed political process.
The participants will spend the coming days working to narrow remaining areas of disagreement, and build on areas of agreement. Ministers will reconvene within two weeks to continue these discussions.
10 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
1st September - Special Envoy for Syria met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab African Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
17 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemned yesterday's air raids on the town of Duma
14 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemns shelling of Damascus Suburbs
12 August - Special Envoy for Syria welcomes the release of human rights activist and journalist
5 August - Secretary-General encouraged by Security Council’s support for latest proposal on Syria
5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions
29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria
29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs Security Council on the situation in Syria
26 & 27 June
Within the framework of the Geneva Consultations, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura met with leaders of the Syrian tribes yesterday. They briefed Mr. de Mistura on their assessments of the situation on the ground and concerns of their respective communities. They also discussed perspectives for a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
Today, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met with Ms. Rajaa Altalli and Mr. Renas Sino of the Centre for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the escalating conflict and deteriorating situation on the ground as well as on the work of the Centre. They also shared their perspectives for a political solution in Syria and for ways civil society organizations could contribute to efforts for ending the Syrian conflict.
في إطار مشاورات جنيف، التقى المبعوث الخاص أمس ستيفان دي مستورا مع زعماء القبائل السورية الذين أطلعوا السيد دي مستورا على تقييمهم للوضع على الأرض واهتمامات مجتمعاتهم. كما ناقش الطرفان آفاق التوصل إلى حل سياسي للصراع السوري.
أمّا اليوم، فالتقى نائب المبعوث الخاص لسورية رمزي عز الدين رمزي مع السيدة رجاء التلّي والسيد ريناس سينو من مركز المجتمع المدني والديمقراطية في سوريا اللذين اطلعا السيد رمزي على حالة الصراع المتصاعد وتدهور الوضع على الارض فضلا عن أعمال المركز. كما تقاسم الطرفان وجهات النظر حول حل سياسي في سوريا والسبل التي يمكن لمنظمات المجتمع المدني أن تساهم فيها من أجل إنهاء النزاع السوري.
25 & 26 June
Within the framework of the Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met today with representatives of the Syrian Feminist Lobby, Ms. Lama Kannout and Ms. Salma Jalkhi. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the overall situation on the ground and the state of women’s rights. They also shared perspectives for a political solution and ways to ensure women’s participation in these process. Mr. Ramzy emphasized the important role that can and should be played by women in any conflict resolution efforts in Syria. He commended their tireless and positive efforts amidst the deteriorating situation on the ground.
Within the framework of the Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met with Mr. Mohammad Marwan Al-Atrash and Mr. Habib Haddad from the Syrian Democratic National Block. They shared views on a political solution to the Syrian conflict. They also discussed with Mr. Ramzy the role of the international community and the United Nations in supporting Syrian efforts to end the conflict.
At the end of today’s meeting, Mr. Ramzy underscored the urgency of a Syrian-led political solution to the conflict. In this regard, he stressed the importance of efforts towards unity and consensus among opposition groups.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura continued his meetings today in the framework of the Geneva Consultations.
He met with the president and members of the political committee of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SOC) in Istanbul.
Mr. de Mistura listened to the views of his interlocutors regarding the operationalization and implementation of the Geneva Communiqué.
Both parties agreed on the importance and urgency of finding a political solution to the current ongoing conflict.
They also concurred on the urgency of an immediate halt of the killing and targeting of civilians.
“My visit to SOC today demonstrates, once again, that the purpose of these Consultations was and remains to give the chance to all Syrians to share their views of what a future Syria should look like,” Mr. de Mistura said.
Meanwhile in Geneva, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy met with Mr. Samir Aita and Mr. Ziad Tlas who briefed on the deteriorating situation in Syria. Mr. Ramzy also met with a delegation of Japan, led by Ambassador Misako Kaji, who briefed on Japan’s support for the United Nations’ efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian situation in Syria. They discussed the ongoing initiatives to help Syrians reach a political solution to the conflict.
Mr. Ramzy observed that today's meetings in Geneva once again confirmed the desire of the international community, from far and near, to help resolve the Syrian conflict and mitigate its humanitarian consequences. He also noted that continued inaction to end the conflict is only making the military and security situation in Syria more complex.2 June
In a press statement issued on 30 May, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, strongly condemned the death of at least 70 civilians in Syria's northern Aleppo province by barrel bombs dropped from government helicopters. "The news of aerial bombing by Syrian helicopters on a civilian market area of the Aleppo neighborhood of Al Shaar deserves the most strong international condemnation," he said. Mr. de Mistura stressed that the protection of civilians during armed conflicts is a cornerstone of international humanitarian law, and applies in all circumstances and without distinction.
On 24 May, Mr. de Mistura met with a delegation of the Assyrian Democratic Organization, and the Syrian Turkmen Council. He shared views with them on a political solution in Syria and the ongoing conflict on the ground. "Today I heard again about the importance of preserving Syria's social fabric and taking into account the diverse views from all corners of the country," Mr. de Mistura said. He stressed that "the United Nations will continue supporting efforts towards an all-inclusive Syrian-led political process."
On 22 May, the Special Envoy met with the Islamic scholar Muhammad Al Habash and Hind Kabawat and Asma Kftarou from a civil society organization called ‘Tastaqil. H
e also received a delegation from the Kurdish National Council, with whom he shared views on ways to end the conflict, with due respect for Syrian diversity while maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. He also met with Najla Riachi Assaker, the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the UN in Geneva, and discussed ways to support Syria in launching a political process, as well as the urgent need to alleviate the humanitarian suffering and its impact on the neighbouring countries. Mr. de Mistura also received with deep sadness news of the kidnapping of a priest, Father Jacques Mourad, on 21 May in Homs, describing the “grave act” as being unfortunately not the first of its kind and “one of the sad consequences” of the raging conflict.