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
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
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
Today the UN had to suspend its planned humanitarian intervention as part of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement on Zabadani, Madaya, Fua, and Kefraya due to the recent surge of military activities in the concerned areas.
The UN team and humanitarian partners, in fact, had made all necessary preparations and were in place to immediately implement the humanitarian provisions of the agreement.
The Syrian population in these affected areas is waiting for this agreement to be implemented so that needed humanitarian assistance can be provided to end their long-standing suffering.
The UN calls on all concerned parties to fulfill their responsibilities in the protection of civilians and reach the necessary understandings in order to implement this agreement as soon as possible. The UN reaffirms its commitment to the protection of civilians and remains ready to assist.
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
MR. STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Cairo, 13 September 2015
Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,
1. It is with a great sense of responsibility that I address you today – for the first time in Cairo – about what has become the world’s largest humanitarian disaster and perhaps one of the most complex political and security challenges of our times. History will judge us. I have said this at every occasion – the scope, danger and threat of the Syrian tragedy should force all of us to leave no stone unturned in trying to end this bloodshed helping Syrians to set their country on a path to healing and reconstruction.
2. Let me take a moment to recall my Office’s efforts to-date before we can address the way forward. I took on this assignment a few months after the end of the Geneva II process and the departure of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, a person I respect a lot. At that time, the Secretary-General undertook a deep assessment of the situation in Syria. On 20 June 2014 he made a quite important policy speech to the Asia Society where he outlined six UN priorities on Syria.
3. He emphasised the importance of saving lives and protecting the most precious for the Syrians, the dignity of the Syrian people. He called for new efforts to start a serious political process for a new Syria, and use the roadmap offered by the Geneva Communique for that purpose. The Communiqué is the roadmap. He urged regional and international players to lend their support to his Envoy in this respect. The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of accountability for serious crimes, which we all know are being committed in Syria – and one day serious crimes need to be considered in the context of accountability -, and of addressing the regional dimensions of the conflict, including the extremist threat.
4. Guided by these priorities, I started my mission last September. Very quickly it became clear to me, as it remained so for you, that the political complexities of the Syrian conflict are such that there was no prospect for any political process at that time, and we needed to break this sense and not give up. Regretfully, Syrian, regional and international players, despite continuously repeating their support for a political solution. Everybody wished me good luck, saying there could only be a political solution. But other agendas were being moved forward away from the negotiations table.
5. Meanwhile Daesh took advantage of the chaos in Syria, set roots and started to expand, as well as threaten the entire region and beyond. Many, across all the political divides around the Syrian conflict, agreed on the urgent need to halt Daesh. I had hoped that this new factor, the threat of Daesh, would be enough to have a proactive discussion on fighting terrorism and the need for a political solution, as the two aspects go together. It should not be one before the other.
6. I sincerely hoped then that this unity against a common enemy could be taken to the next level. I proposed the Aleppo Freeze. In that proposal, I was guided by only one objective – saving lives from being killed by a barrel bomb or a stray mortar or gas, giving hope. Many were skeptical and remain so. Where they were right to a certain degree was that any such initiative could not work absent a political horizon. I got that message. That sense of urgency for a political horizon only intensified as horrifying images of Daesh continued atrocities, aerial bombardment by the Syrian Government, rockets by armed opposition groups affecting civilians.
7. Against this background, back in March in Sharm el-Sheikh addressing the League of Arab States, the Secretary-General instructed me to intensify efforts towards a political process. There was no indication of anything new, but he felt it essential after five years of war, 20 years after Srebrenica and as the UN was celebrating its 70th anniversary. He asked me to consult broadly with Syrians, and told me to look around to come up with recommendations on how to operationalize the Geneva Communique. On 5 May, I rolled-out a process of separate meetings with Syrian, regional and international stakeholders. We did my best to talk to all who could share any valuable analysis , and ensure that no Syrian could say he or she had not been heard.
8. As a result of over  meetings, in early July, I reported back to the Secretary-General my own analysis. As requested, we put forth a way to operationalize the Geneva Communique. This is the famous paper that was leaked, referencing the TGB. But unfortunately there was not enough critical mass to support this. Then I presented a process, although I do not like the term because of MEPP connotations, but it is needed to work on non-controversial issues, and maintain the pressure for a real political dialogue, regionally and beyond.
9. The themes are not new, but they require a new way to address them. They can be the beginning of a discussion. They include: safety and protection for all Syrian people; military, security and counter-terrorism issues; political and legal issues (and these two must start together, avoiding, with all due respect, what has happened in Libya), and this also include the whole essence of the TGB; and maintaining state institutions. The Secretary-General further stressed that no effort could be successful absent the substantive support from the region and the international community, except if we have a contact group to put political pressure fro countries with and influence on the situation. The plan is to start the working groups, but not giving up establishing the contact group.
Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,
10. The Security Council has since taken a constructive look at what can be done politically for with a feeling of urgency. As such in its Presidential Statement adopted on 17 August, the Council endorsed the UN proposals for a way forward and themselves “emphasize[d] the need for robust international and regional assistance”.
11. We are now in a new phase. There is a massive movement of refugees. There is a danger of further militarisation. We have a clear vision of the Security Council for a way forward, that includes progress on both the political track and the fight against terrorism, not one at the expense of the other. I have a clear task to make the thematic working groups happen and establish dialogue with the countries that have an influence – some of them are in this room.
12. Over the past two months, Deputy Ramzy and I have visited several capitals and engaged all the major Syrian interlocutors – and consultations continue to-date. We have worked out the internal organizational, but also conceptual, aspects of this next phase. From Cairo, I will have further discussions in Damascus and Istanbul to prepare the announcement of the working groups. We are ready to roll-out the working group process soon. But without a contact group we have no teeth.
13. I trust you have all noted the extensive media coverage of the exacerbating suffering in Syria. Barrel bombs, gas canisters and many other nasty weapons continue to be used on human beings in Syria. Thousands of years old world heritage artefacts are being blown up in pieces. Women, men, children, elders, doctors, farmers, engineers, teachers are running away from Syria. These are the middle class, those who can contribute to the future of Syria. Some of our humanitarian colleagues assess that only some 16 million people, out of 23 million originally, are now left in Syria – with several millions living in the Daesh-controlled area.
14. This situation is a defining humanitarian challenge of our times. It is now affecting Europe and has long been affecting the neighbourhood , which has been generously welcoming large numbers of refugees, such as in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. This requires us to move faster and to be more serious about helping the Syrians. Most importantly, we must share more effectively the burden of the humanitarian crisis - for which only 37% of the appeal has been covered so far -, many of you have been generous but if the Syrian people lose hope because of a harsh and cold winter ahead of them they will only be moving to more despration.
15. Things are also changing, including in this region. I hope that the forthcoming developments would help Iran engage its neighbours in order to provide together regional support for a political solution. We hope Iran’s neighbours would also reciprocate. The United States and Russia have also started to talk to each other more about Syria than before, but so far inconclusively. There will be more opportunities during the GA One must remember where the refugees come from. They are not fleeing a sudden rain or a terrorist group. They are leaving because of war.
16. Syria is at the heart of the Arab world. Today, Syria is bleeding. It has been for the past four years. I cannot but believe all of us have an interest – moral and political - to put an end to this human tragedy and political disaster.
17. A political solution to the Syrian problem – a very complicated one, I have never seen such a complex conflict in my career over four decades and twenty conflicts - cannot be resolved without active Arab participation. Almost every Syrian I have come across yearns for a unified country – they are proud of their country and they love it - in which its citizens, regardless of the religious or ethnic affiliation, live in freedom and dignity, but also a Syria that regains its historic position at the centre of the Arab world.
18. In sum, three new 'accelerators' have appeared on the scene: the advances of ISIL; the sudden / massive movement of refugees – which culd become more massive; and the potential military escalation, are all additional stimuli for a political process. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal includes two complementary tracks: (a) thematic working gorups in recognition that Syrians need to have their say on the Geneva Communique; and (b) a Contact Group in recognition of the regional and international dimensions of the conflict and their collective and individual responsibilities to see this conflict resolved. This will require the support of all around this table.
19. In concluding, I would lijke to invite all of us to observe a minute of silence in tribute to the martyrs of Syria. Many have died in Syria and in the Mediterranean, as symbolised by the picture of the child.
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
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura visited Damascus today, with the main purpose of discussing with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mr Walid Mouallem and Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Faisal Mekdad the preliminary findings of the Geneva Consultations and the preparations for the Security Council debate on Syria on 29 July in New York. The meeting was focused on how to maintain a momentum on the search for a political solution to the long-lasting Syrian conflict.
The Special Envoy, having concluded his regional tour, is now planning to return to New York for briefing the Secretary-General and, based on this, prepare for a discussion at the Security Council on the Syrian conflict.
زار المبعوث الخاص إلى سوريا ستيفان دي مستورا دمشق اليوم والتقى نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء ووزير الخارجية السيد وليد المعلم ونائب وزير الخارجية السيد فيصل مقداد لمناقشة النتائج الأولية لمشاورات جنيف بشكل رئيسي والتحضير لمناقشات مجلس الأمن حول سوريا في 29 تموز في نيويورك. وركز الاجتماع على كيفية الحفاظ على الزخم في البحث عن حل سياسي للصراع القائم منذ فترة طويلة في سوريا.
بعد أن اختتم جولته الإقليمية، يعتزم المبعوث الخاص على العودة إلى نيويورك لإطلاع الأمين العام، والتحضير للمناقشة في مجلس الأمن بشأن الصراع السوري بناءا على نتائج جولته.
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura ended his visit to New York, where he discussed the findings from the initial phase of the Geneva Consultations on the operationalization of the Geneva Communique with the Secretary-General and his senior advisers at United Nations Headquarters.
Mr. de Mistura will be continuing his consultations with Member States, including in the region.
The Special Envoy intends to finalize by the end of July his proposals to the Secretary-General on a way forward to support Syrian parties in their search of a political solution to the conflict, in preparation for a briefing to the Security Council.
10 July 2015, New York
أنهى مبعوث الأمم المتحدة الخاص إلى سوريا ستيفان دي مستورا زيارته إلى نيويورك حيث ناقش في مقر الأمم المتحدة مع الأمين العام وكبار مستشاريه نتائج المرحلة الأولى من مشاورات جنيف بشأن تفعيل بيان جنيف.2 July
26 & 27 June
25 & 26 June
وسيُكمل السيد دي مستورا مشاوراته مع الدول الأعضاء، بما في ذلك في المنطقة.
كما يعتزم المبعوث الخاص أن يضع اللمسات الأخيرة على مقترحاته إلى الأمين العام بشأن الطريق إلى الأمام لدعم الأطراف السورية في بحثهم عن حل سياسي للنزاع القائم، وذلك استعدادا لإحاطة مجلس الأمن.
10 يوليو 2015، نيويورك
Within the framework of the ongoing Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy met today in Geneva with representatives of the Union of Syriac Women and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who briefed on the situation in Syria. They discussed ways to support people in Syria in their daily humanitarian needs. Mr. Ramzy also discussed with the representatives of the Union of Syriac Women perspectives on a political solution to the Syrian conflict which could meet the needs of diverse components, which make up integral parts of the Syrian society.
At the end of today's meetings, Mr. Ramzy stressed that, "all should put their differences aside to ensure that aid reaches all those in need, but ultimately only a political solution would allow to address the deepening humanitarian crisis in a sustainable manner." While highlighting the urgent need for a political solution to the Syrian conflict, he added that, "it is critical that women organizations are included in any political process, fully participate in it and contribute to it".4 June
In the framework of the Geneva Consultations, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, met today with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, who presented his views about the peaceful future of Syria and its various communities.
“It is very important that the voices of the religious leaders and their communities be heard and taken into account as we search for peace in Syria. Their representatives have an essential to role play in promoting peacemaking and reconciliation in the Syria of tomorrow", Mr de Mistura said after the meeting.1 June