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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
Hide details for 30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria30 October - Vienna Communique on Syria


    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.
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

Hide 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
The Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, would like to clarify recent comments made by the Special Envoy regarding the refugee situation in Europe.

During his last press encounter in Brussels, Mr. de Mistura said that the influx of refugees into Europe is due to the existence of Da’esh and the ongoing conflict in Syria.

The Special Envoy said that more than 230,000 deaths have been recorded so far, due to the use of indiscriminate weaponry by all parties to the conflict. He therefore reminded the international community of the urgent necessity to join forces in finding a political solution to the conflict and putting an end to the bloodshed.

Geneva, 10 September 2015
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
Hide 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

New York, 29 July 2015


After more than four years of slaughter, the Syrian conflict is a shameful symbol of the international community’s divisions and failure.

I am profoundly disappointed that this Council’s resolutions on Syria have not been implemented – neither on ending the violence nor on easing humanitarian suffering or combatting terrorism and foreign fighters.

Syria is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, as you heard yesterday in harrowing detail from
the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

At least a quarter-million Syrians have been killed.

Almost half the country’s people -- 12 million men, women and children -- have been forced to flee their homes. In a massive cross-border exodus, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are hosting an ever growing number of refugees, and increasing numbers of Syrians [are] making desperate flights across the Mediterranean in so-called “death boats”.

Atrocious crimes are now almost an hourly occurrence, fed by a lack of accountability for the major human rights violations committed over the past four years and through decades of repression.

The Syrian people have been exposed to chemical weapons, which should have been relegated to the past – and to new, indiscriminate killing devices such as barrel bombs and hell cannons.

The conflict has given rise to terrorist groups such as Da’esh and Al Nusra Front, and fuelled sectarianism and radicalization throughout and beyond the region.

And funding for humanitarian activities continues to be outpaced by the gargantuan and ever-growing scale of needs.

The situation is a clear threat to international peace and security that should compel us all to consider what more we can do to end the carnage and uphold our responsibilities.

It was in this context that on 28 March I instructed my Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, to intensify efforts by the United Nations to find a political settlement to the conflict. Specifically, I asked him to work to operationalize the Geneva Communiqué.

The Security Council unanimously endorsed the Geneva Communiqué in its resolution 2118. The document contains principles and guidelines to end the violence and launch a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.

The Communiqué remains the only internationally agreed basis for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict, and was the foundation for recent initiatives such as the Cairo and Moscow processes.

Mr. de Mistura will brief you on his consultations. I would like to highlight four key points.

First, Mr. de Mistura’s description of the state of the Syrian crisis is a synthesis of what we heard from an inclusive and representative group of Syrian and non-Syrian stakeholders.

Second, amidst gaping fault lines, there are points of consensus upon which a credible political process can be constructed.

Syrians and external actors alike possess a shared sense of concern regarding the threshold that the conflict has now reached.

No one wants to risk the chaos of an uncontrolled transition in Damascus. All reject a future Syria divided along sectarian lines. Many Syrians warned that the country is entering a cycle of fragmentation and radicalization from which it will be hard to exit.

Our Syrian interlocutors also lamented that their country is caught in a regional proxy war that is beyond Syrians’ ability to resolve by themselves.

Almost all pointed to an urgent need for the international community to act now if we want to save and preserve what is left of Syria. As the situation deteriorates, Syrians predict that the prospects for achieving a political solution will also recede.

Third, the Syrians with whom we spoke share many of the same aspirations.

They want to protect the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence, and to determine their own future free from external intervention.

They consider it impossible to return to the past.

They reject violent extremism and terrorism, and support a non-sectarian, multi-confessional and inclusive society.

And they yearn to build a genuinely democratic Syria based on human rights and the rule of law.

Fourth and finally, the consultations made clear that the major stumbling block in the political process remains the issue of forming a Transitional Governing Body, or TGB, with full executive powers that can create a suitable environment and safety for all during the transition.

The TGB is the top priority for the opposition, while the Syrian government has told us that such an institution would be unconstitutional.

Although difficult, these are not insurmountable obstacles and differences. Mr. de Mistura will therefore present a proposal to launch a political process aimed at enabling Syrians to negotiate a framework agreement on how to implement all aspects of the Geneva Communiqué.

The main goal of these preparatory negotiations will be to reach intra-Syrian agreement on the elements of the Geneva Communiqué, including on the issue of the TGB, as well as to effectively fight terrorism.

I stand ready to convene a high-level international conference to endorse any recommendations or agreement that this Syrian-led political process may reach.

The status quo in Syria is unacceptable. Some argue that we must wait to end this nightmare until there is a more propitious alignment of regional and international circumstances. This would be both immoral and irresponsible.

We must not condemn the Syrian people to even deeper despair. We must not condemn the region to unending turmoil.

Today I ask the Security Council to endorse Mr. de Mistura’s recommendations and work with the Syrian parties to convince them to participate constructively in this proposed process.

Just as important, the Council has a responsibility to support the political process by acting to de-escalate the conflict.

We must ensure that these preparatory negotiations are meaningful and not cynically exploited as a license to continue the killing.

I urge the Security Council, Syria’s neighbours and regional sponsors of the Syrian parties to stem all flows of arms and foreign fighters pouring into the country.

While ending the bloodshed remains primarily the responsibility of the Syrian parties, especially President Bashar al-Assad, there is much that the region and the international community can do to starve the fire of its fuel.

We must also build on the political momentum that has been generated by the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries. The unity that generated that agreement can help point the way towards conflict resolution in Syria and greater stability across the region.

For the moment, the greatest obstacle to ending the Syrian war is the notion that it can be won militarily. It is our failure to act with a unified voice that perpetuates this harmful illusion and allows the Syrian parties to think that there is some alternative other than coming to the negotiating table.

Today, Mr. de Mistura and I will outline a way forward to reach the political solution that all claim to support. I urge you to give this proposal your full support. If you do not, the world expects this body to present a viable alternative.

Thank you.

Show 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

Hide details for 23 July23 July
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.
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Hide details for 11 July11 July
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura ended his visit to Cairo where he met with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Mr. Sameh Shoukry and the National Security Adviser Mrs. Fayza Aboulnaga.

The discussions revolved around the way forward to support Syrian parties in their search of a political solution to the conflict and the relevance of all international efforts exerted to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.

Mr. de Mistura also met with several members of the Syrian opposition who were present in Cairo.

The Special Envoy will be continuing his consultations with Member States in the region in the coming few days.

11 July 2015, Cairo
أنهى مبعوث الأمم المتحدة الخاص لسوريا ستيفان دي ميستورا زيارته إلى القاهرة حيث التقى مع وزير الخارجية المصري سعادة السيد سامح شكري ومستشار الأمن القومي السيدة فايزة أبو النجا.
تمحورت المناقشات حول الطريق إلى الأمام لدعم الأطراف السورية في بحثهم عن حل سياسي للصراع وأهمية كل الجهود الدولية المبذولة لوضع حد لمعاناة الشعب السوري.
كما التقى السيد دي مستورا أيضا مع عدد من أعضاء المعارضة السورية الذين كانوا موجودين في القاهرة.
يواصل المبعوث الخاص مشاوراته مع الدول الأعضاء في المنطقة في الأيام القليلة القادمة.
11 يوليو 2015، القاهرة
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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.

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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 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.

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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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