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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
Hide details for 14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group14 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.


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. ​
Show details for 23 July23 July
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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.
*http://all4syria.info/Archive/233864

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.
* http://all4syria.info/Archive/233864
22 تمّوز 2015، جنيف
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Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura visited Ankara today where he met with the Undersecretary of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu.
Mr. de Mistura conveyed his appreciation for the substantial effort by Turkey in welcoming and hosting a large number of Syrian refugees.

The Special Envoy also 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, Mr. de Mistura will continue his consultations in the region in the coming few days.

15 July 2015, Geneva

زار المبعوث الخاص ستيفان دي ميستورا أنقرة اليوم حيث التقى مع وكيل وزارة الشؤون الخارجية في تركيا، السفير فريدون هادي سينيرليوغلو.
نقل السيد دي مستورا عن تقديره للجهد كبير الذي تبذله تركيا في الترحيب واستضافة عدد كبير من اللاجئين السوريين.
وشدد المبعوث الخاص أيضا على أهمية مساهمة دول المنطقة لإيجاد حل سياسي للصراع السوري. كما أكّد أيضا على الحاجة الملحة لإيجاد سبل من أجل إنهاء اراقة الدماء في سوريا.
في هذا الصدد، سيواصل السيد دي مستورا مشاوراته في المنطقة خلال الايام القليلة المقبلة.
15 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 Federation for Human Rights Organizations and Bodies and the National Democratic Action Committee, Ms. Mais El Krydee, Mr. Mahmoud Marai and Mr. Jwan Alyoussef. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the overall situation on the ground as well as on the situation in the area of human rights in Syria. They also shared views and perspectives for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
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In the framework of the Geneva consultations, U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura met today with a delegation from The Day After Association, led by Mr. Murhaf Joueijati, and a delegation from the Cordoba Working Group, led by Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Barmou.

Both delegations shared with the U.N. Special Envoy their perspectives for a political solution in Syria and discussed the worsening situation on the ground.

At the end of his meetings, Mr. de Mistura reiterated his strong conviction that only a political solution can address the root causes of the ongoing conflict in a sustainable manner and bring it to an end.
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On 1 June 2015, the Special Envoy for Syria met with a delegation from the Kingdom of Bahrain, led by Mr. Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who shared his government’s views on a political solution to the conflict in Syria and the ongoing developments on the ground. “This four-year brutal conflict has proven that no one will ever win through military means,” Mr. de Mistura said at the end of his meeting.
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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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