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Geneva Consultations on Syria - 2015






UPDATES FOR CORRESPONDENTS

Show details for 28 December - Joint statement by the UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee28 December - Joint statement by the UN in Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross
Show details for 26 December - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Special Envoy for Syria26 December - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Special Envoy for Syria
Show details for 11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting
Show details for 24 November: Statement attributable to the spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria24 November: Statement attributable to the spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
Show details for 14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group
Show details for 6 November - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria6 November - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
Show details for 30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria
Show details for 2 October - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura2 October - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura
Show details for 22 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria22 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria
Show details for 13 September - Statement of the Special Envoy for Syria to the Ministerial meeting of the League of Arab State13 September - Statement of the Special Envoy for Syria to the Ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States

Show details for 10 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria10 September - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
Show details for 1st September - Special Envoy for Syria met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab African Affairs of the Is1st September - Special Envoy for Syria met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Arab African Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Show details for 17 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemned yesterday's air raids on the town of Duma 17 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemned yesterday's air raids on the town of Duma
Show details for 14 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemns shelling of Damascus Suburbs14 August - Special Envoy for Syria condemns shelling of Damascus Suburbs
Show details for 12 August - Special Envoy for Syria welcomes the release of human rights activist and journalist12 August - Special Envoy for Syria welcomes the release of human rights activist and journalist
Show details for 5 August - Secretary-General encouraged by Security Council’s support for latest proposal on Syria5 August - Secretary-General encouraged by Security Council’s support for latest proposal on Syria
Show details for 5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions
Show details for 29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria
Hide details for 29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs 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
Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefs Security Council
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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President,

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.

Mr. President

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.

Thank you. ​
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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

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
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Within the framework of the ongoing Consultations on Syria, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura visited the State of Qatar where he met with the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Mohammad Bin Abdullah Bin Mutib Al Rumaihi on 12 July 2015.

On the same day, he visited the United Arab Emirates where he met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Throughout his discussions, the Special Envoy noted once again the need for starting a process leading to a political solution to the Syrian crisis through constructive dialogue.

Mr. de Mistura will continue his consultations with Member States in the region in the coming few days.

13 July 2015, Geneva
في إطار المشاورات الجارية بشأن سوريا، زار المبعوث الخاص ستيفان دي ميستورا دولة قطر حيث التقى مع مساعد وزير الخارجية للشؤون الخارجية السيد محمد بن عبد الله بن متعب الرميحي في تاريخ 12 يوليو 2015.

وفي اليوم نفسه، زار دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة حيث التقى مع وزير الخارجية الشيخ عبدالله بن زايد آل نهيان.

أشار المبعوث الخاص مرة أخرى خلال مناقشاته على الحاجة الماسّة لبدء عملية تؤدي إلى حل سياسي للأزمة السورية من خلال الحوار البناء.

وسيواصل السيد دي مستورا مشاوراته مع الدول الأعضاء في المنطقة في الأيام القليلة القادمة.

13 يوليو 2015، جنيف
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Within the framework of the Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met today with representatives of the Syrian civil society, including Mr. Zedoun Al Zoubi and Mr. Tawfik Chamaa of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the escalating armed conflict and deteriorating situation on the ground, including the dire conditions of medical facilities, as well as on the work of Syrian civil society organizations. They also shared perspectives for a political solution and discussed ways how the civil society could contribute to efforts in reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

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FIVE WEEKS INTO THE GENEVA CONSULTATIONS

Special Envoy de Mistura is continuing meetings with a broad spectrum of Syrian, regional and international interlocutors within the framework of the Geneva Consultations. Since 5 May 2015, Mr. de Mistura and Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy have met so far with representatives of the Syrian Government, the Syrian opposition Coalition and 39 Syrian political and civil society groups. They have also held 26 meetings with representatives of concerned Member States from the Security Council and the region, as well as regional organizations. This process is expected to continue into July 2015.

Mr. de Mistura reiterates his sincere hope and belief that guns will fall silent one day. It is inevitable, as has been seen in other conflicts. The sooner they fall silent, the more lives will be saved. It is the responsibility of all Syrian, regional and international actors to try to bring that day forward and to make every effort to protect civilians under any circumstances and at all times. This is particularly relevant to the unacceptable use of barrel bombs. Mr. de Mistura stresses that there is a general consensus that there cannot be a military solution to the Syrian tragedy. The use of force will only create further suffering, destruction and grievances. An inclusive and Syrian-led and owned political solution is urgently needed. Only such a solution can address the aspirations of the Syrian people and end the conflict in a sustainable manner.

The Geneva Consultations remain a rolling process of separate and informal meetings aimed at operationalizing the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012. In the coming weeks, the Special Envoy intends to brief the Secretary-General on his findings from this process. Special Envoy de Mistura hopes to be in a position to present to the Secretary-General views on ways to help the Syrian parties reach a political solution, as per the Geneva Communique, to end the unacceptable bloodletting in their country, which has led to countless deaths and injuries, and destruction of cities, towns and villages.

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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.
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