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
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
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
Security Council briefing on the situation in Syria by the Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
Thank you Mr Secretary-General for your strong and supportive introduction to this debate,
Your Excellency Foreign Minister McCully, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
1. It is precisely the immensity of the human suffering as just described by the Secretary-General and yesterday by our colleague USG O'Brien that commands us to seek out even the remotest possibility for a political solution, even if, and we heard it, sadly the logic of assuming a military victory by anyone, which is impossible, continues. And barrel bombs and other indiscriminate weapons continue to kill Syrian civilians.
2. On 5 May, based on instructions from the Secretary-General, we unrolled the Geneva Consultations. It’s a new form of avoiding getting cornered in a conference which then gets us straight-jacketed, it is a set of structured separate discussions with Syrian and non-Syrian players aimed at "stress testing" any willingness, if there is any, of narrowing the gaps in interpretation of the principles contained in the Geneva Communiqué, which is still, let’s be frank, the internationally only recognized framework for a settlement, even if still ambiguous in some parts. To-date Consultations with over 200 different individuals, actually 216, -Syrians and non-Syrians- in Geneva and in capitals, reveal a generally shared sense of urgency given especially the recent gains by Daesh and al-Nusra Front, the talk of some de facto fragmentation, radicalization and sectarianism. There is thus growing reference to the need for a managed, phased, gradual controlled transition, to avoid a repeat of what no one in this Council would like to se, the problems we have had in Libya and in Iraq.
3. Consultations too have reaffirmed that most Syrians and international actors agree on what Syria should look like, and the relevance of the principles and content of the Geneva Communique. It was three years ago, and it is still valid. Syrians overall emphasize their own vision for a united, sovereign, independent -they’re very proud people-, non-sectarian, multi-confessional, all-inclusive state with territorial integrity, preserved but reformed state institutions, such as the Ministries -as we have seen in Iraq that was the biggest problem we faced when suddenly many institutions disappeared in one moment of the change-, including the political, security and judiciary sectors led by those who can inspire public confidence and trust.
4. Yet, there is disagreement -Mr Secretary-General said it very clearly- on how to get there much based on the different narratives, one as to the root causes of the conflict and emerging priorities. The fear of black flags over Damascus is driving many to consider reassessing their own earlier positions. Yet, many continue to consider also that the conflict continues to be about the Arab Spring calls for a change. There is a firm recognition that counter-terrorism is now definitely a priority. However, many are also wondering -both Syrians and member states- that n order to assert that type of counter-terrorism, there is a need for a credible new government with whom they can partner in that effort.
5. While common ground exists, the question over the devolution of executive authority to a transitional body -let’s be honest with ourselves- remains the most polarizing element of the Communique. For some, this means that the TGB -transitional governing body- is an instrument to hand over power. Some political and armed opposition groups generally reject any notion of power-sharing with the current government in Damascus. The Syrian government has accepted in theory to discuss the TGB at the Geneva II Conference but continues to reject the concept as unconstitutional.
6. It is still broadly understood that, whatever the solution, it should ensure the "meaningfulness and irreversibility of the transition" and a widely acceptable process, without causing an abrupt jolt, shock, trauma, catastrophe, in the system in Syria - we cannot afford that. And that should also include assurances for Syrian communities -and there are many minorities who have been under threat- and regional stakeholders and guarantees that the Syrian people are part of the decision-making - including, let me stress it, especially women. We met remarkable Syrian women in our Geneva Consultations who haver been giving us often the most powerful concept and analysis we have heard.
7. Sadly there is still no consensus on the way forward on the Communique or yet a formalized even negotiation - we would not be discussing it here otherwise, we would be working on the negotiation. At the same time, given the deepening tragedy- the UN is obliged -and all of us are- to keep the issue alive, to not leave any stone unturned, also attuned to ongoing serious conversations and discussions which are taking place, and we are hearing them, around the region and elsewhere, which may require perhaps more time, and may be linked with developments that the Secretary-General just referred to.
8. We have thus strived to develop recommendations, guided by the views and analysis shared with us during the Consultations. This is the first time by the way that the Syrian people have been given a chance, they told us, to be deeply and intensely consulted - after all we always say this is a Syrian-led , Syrian-involved process, well this was the opportunity. Our recommendations are predicated on the need for a regional and international consensus - and sustained engagement- on a way forward.
9. In responding to the Secretary-General's instruction therefore that we should try to "operationalise the Geneva Communique", together with my team we have consulted widely inside and around; and verified if there was critical mass for common action, and ultimately tried to visualize, from a technical point of view, the implementation of the Geneva Communique, in all its aspects, including the TGB. And we have come up with a detailed formula for the phased implementation of the Geneva Communique, so there is no alibi in case there was -and there will be- a political consensus, including on the TGB, which could assume the functions of a government, a definition of mutual consent, which was in the Geneva Communiqué, the functioning of a military council and Syrian National Congress for national dialogue and constitutional reform, combined with confidence-building measures.
10. Ours is a straightforward interpretation formula for the implementation of the Communique. Regretfully, the Consultations also confirmed that achieving an agreement on this is difficult in the current Syrian context. In fact, many urged us not convene a Geneva III conference yet, because we are not yet there.
11. But, we cannot let the situation in Syria continue to drift. And that’s why based on the appeal and the urge of the Secretary-General, we need to move in a direction where Syrians come together to stop the violence and set out an irreversible path towards a genuine political transition. Which leads us to our main Recommendation.
12. The Geneva Consultations got Syrians to again start talking to each other, sometimes indirectly through us, but they did. What I am today proposing is actually a deepening, getting much deeper, of those issues in the Geneva Communiqué which are not so controversial, and analyzing those that can be controversial. I now intend to invite therefore Syrians to parallel, simultaneous, thematic discussions through intra-Syrian working groups addressing the key aspects of the Geneva Communique, as identified by them in the first phase of the Consultations:
Safety and Protection for All: which means including ending sieges, how to do so, ensuring medical access and releasing detainees;
Political and Constitutional Issues: including the essential principles, transitional governing body and elections;
Military and Security Issues: including combatting terrorism in an effective inclusive way, cease-fires, and integration;
Public Institutions, Reconstruction and Development: which means we should to try to avoid as we said what happened in Iraq and elsewhere where suddenly institutions disappeared and the country got into a major difficulty. Those institutions should continue to deliver public services under a top leadership acceptable to all, and acting in accordance with principles of good government and human rights.
13. These working groups will start generating movement, we believe, towards a Syrian-owned Framework Document on the implementation of the Geneva Communique. These efforts can build on the very useful meetings that took place in Moscow, in Cairo, in Paris, and even in Astana recently and many track II initiatives. This effort should be led by a Steering committee and the Framework Document will also provide for a transitional governing body, procedures for a national dialogue, and so on. Such an international initiative will require the support of a Contact Group, and we will get there at the right time.
14. In all of the above I seek this Council's support, as the Secretary-General has said, and stand ready to regularly report to you and to the Secretary-General, on progress or challenges, which we will definitively have.
Mr Secretary-General, Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,
15. The Consultations have gone some way towards identifying existing common ground. They also still hold the promise that a set of formal negotiations could convene after preparing the ground, if there is a political will. The Geneva Consultations have been loud and clear on the profound risks of failing to act now, including the increasing risk of a multi-generational conflict that, with each passing month, reduces the prospects of ever restoring Syria as a unified state, let alone making it even harder to establish a political process.
16. In closing Mr. President, let me thank the Secretary-General again for being with us today, showing his strong commitment about the issue that is in front of us, and the Secretariat, and the members of the Security Council for their continuous support for our difficult, uphill, difficult, but needed mission. I am obviously ready to go into details more in a separate meeting later on.
In reference to the statement* issued by the Cairo follow-up committee after its meeting with Mr. Staffan de Mistura, on 19 July 2015, the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria would like to indicate that the quotes attributed to him in that meeting were not consistent with the overall discussions that took place.
Mr. de Mistura will continue to refrain from making any comments regarding the discussions taking place during his meetings within the framework of the ongoing consultations on Syria.
After his upcoming briefing to the Security Council, the Special Envoy will be in a position to better elaborate on the current situation and future prospects.
22 July 2015, Geneva
في إشارة إلى بيان* صدر من قبل اللجنة المعنية بتنفيذ مقررات القاهرة او ما تعرف باللجنة الـ 13، بعد اجتماعها مع السيد ستيفان دي ميستورا، في 19 تموز عام 2015، يهمّ مكتب المبعوث الخاص إلى سوريا الإشارة أن الأقوال المنسوبة إليه في ذلك الاجتماع لا تتفّق مع حقيقة المناقشات العامة التي جرت على أرض الواقع.
ويواصل السيد دي مستورا الامتناع عن الإدلاء بأي تعليق حول المناقشات التي تجري خلال لقاءاته في إطار المشاورات الجارية بشأن سوريا.
بعد الإحاطة القادمة لمجلس الأمن، سوف يكون المبعوث الخاص في وضع مؤاتٍ لإطلاع الرأي العام على الوضع الراهن وآفاق المستقبل.
22 تمّوز 2015، جنيف21 July
As part of his consultations with regional stakeholders and members of the Security Council, Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura visited Beijing today where he met with the Chinese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Li Baodong, and the Director-General of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Mr. Li Junhua. During his meetings in Beijing, the Special Envoy discussed the regional situation and the importance for the Security Council members to reach a common understanding on how to proceed with a political process aimed at operationalizing the Geneva Communiqué.
Prior to Beijing, the Special Envoy went to Cairo especially to have a meeting with the Secretary-General of League of Arab States Mr. Nabil El Araby. On that occasion, Mr. de Mistura had the opportunity of discussing the future meeting at the Security Council on Syria and to exchange views on ways to promote a political solution to the conflict.
While in Cairo, Mr. De Mistura also met with Syrian opposition figures present there.
20 July 2015, Geneva
26 & 27 June
كجزء من مشاوراته مع الأطراف المعنية الإقليمية وأعضاء مجلس الأمن، زار مبعوث الأمم المتّحدة الخاص إلى سوريا ستيفان دي مستورا بكين اليوم حيث التقى مع نائب وزير الشئون الخارجية الصيني، السيد لي باو دونغ، والمدير العام لشؤون المنظمات والمؤتمرات الدولية، السيد لي جونهوا. خلال لقاءاته في بكين، ناقش المبعوث الخاص الوضع الإقليمي وأهمية أن يتوصّل أعضاء مجلس الأمن إلى تفاهم مشترك حول كيفية المضي قدماً في العملية السياسية التي تهدف إلى تنفيذ بيان جنيف.
وقد توجّه المبعوث الخاص، قبل بيكين، إلى القاهرة بهدف عقد اجتماع مع الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية السيد نبيل العربي. واغتنم السيّد دي مستورا الفرصة، في هذه المناسبة، لمناقشة الاجتماع المقبل في مجلس الأمن بشأن سوريا، وتبادل وجهات النظر حول سبل تعزيز التوصل إلى حل سياسي للصراع.
والتقى السيد دي مستورا أيضاً أثناء وجوده في القاهرة، مع شخصيات من المعارضة السورية المتواجدة هناك.
20 يوليو 2015، جنيف
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
On 27 May, in the framework of the Geneva Consultations, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria met with a delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by Mr. Mohsen Naziri Asl, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Ambassador Asl shared the views of his government regarding the Syrian crisis. Separately, Mr. de Mistura also met with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates, led by Mr. Fares Al Mazrouei, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs. Mr. Al Mazrouei shared his Government’s perspectives on the Syrian conflict. At the end of the consultations on 27 May, Mr. de Mistura stressed the importance of the contribution of the regional countries to a political solution to the Syrian conflict. He also underscored an urgent need to find ways to end the bloodshed in Syria. In this respect, the Special Envoy reiterated his support to humanitarian pauses in fighting as called for by the World Food Programme (WFP), so farmers in Syria can safely harvest and transport crops in the coming weeks within the country to reach all Syrians in need.
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."