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
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.
As part of the implementation of the initiative set out by Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura before the Security Council on 29 July 2015 and endorsed by the Council in its Presidential Statement of 17 August 2015 (S/PRST/2015/15), the Special Envoy and his Deputy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met over the last two days with the following facilitators appointed by the Secretary-General to head the intra-Syrian thematic working groups, under the direction of the Special Envoy:
Mr. Jan Egeland as facilitator for the Safety and Protection thematic Working Group; Mr. Nicolas Michel as facilitator for the Political and Legal Issues thematic Working Group; Mr. Volker Perthes as facilitator for the Military, Security and Counterterrorism thematic Working Group; and Ms. Birgitta Holst Alani as facilitator for the Continuity of Public Services, Reconstruction and Development thematic Working Group.
They discussed draft agendas with a view to ensuring coordination and parallel progress of the Working Groups.
Mr. de Mistura has just returned from consultations with Syrian interlocutors most recently in Damascus and Istanbul. These visits complement ongoing OSE outreach to regional capitals and elsewhere. The Special Envoy is now heading to NY to carry these discussions forward in the margins of the General Assembly.
“The Working Groups are intended to provide Syrians with a platform to address in-depth themes that are certainly not new, but have lacked to date sustained intra-Syrian discussion. It is hoped that their outcomes could eventually set the stage for a Syrian agreement to end the conflict on the basis of the Geneva Communique,” Mr. de Mistura said.
While the participation of Syrians is central for this process to move forward, the Security Council has also “emphasised the need for robust international and regional assistance” in support of the efforts of the Special Envoy.
Mr. de Mistura will continue consultations with relevant actors to accelerate such support. “This is the defining humanitarian challenge of our times,” he reiterated. “The Syrians deserve that we move faster towards a political solution”.
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
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.
29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs Security Council on the situation in Syria
Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura visited today the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where he met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs Mr. Nasser Judeh. Mr. de Mistura very much appreciated Minister Judeh’s deep knowledge and analysis of the regional situation, particularly as Jordan is providing hospitality to a substantial number of Syrian refugees and is therefore heavily affected by the situation in Syria.
Mr. de Mistura also met Syrian opposition figures who were present in Jordan.
At the end of today’s meetings, Mr. de Mistura reaffirmed the resolve of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to spare no efforts to support the people of Syria in their yearning for peace and change. He stressed that both regional and international powers can do much more to end the raging conflict in Syria.
Mr. de Mistura will continue his consultations with Member States in the region in the coming few days.
14 July 2015, Geneva
زار المبعوث الخاص ستيفان دي مستورا اليوم المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية، حيث التقى مع نائب رئيس الوزراء ووزير الشؤون الخارجية وشؤون المغتربين السيد ناصر جودة. و قد أعرب السيد دي مستورا عن تقديره الكبير تجاه المعرفة العميقة التي يتمتّع بها الوزير جودة وتحليله للوضع الإقليمي، خاصّة أنّ الأردن يستضيف عدداً كبيراً من اللاجئين السوريين، وبالتالي يتأثر بشدة من الوضع في سوريا.
كما التقى السيد دي مستورا أيضا شخصيات من المعارضة السورية كانوا موجودين في الأردن.
في نهاية جلسات اليوم، أكّد السيد دي مستورا عزم الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة إلى عدم ادخار أي جهد لدعم الشعب السوري، في إطار سعيهم للسلام والتغيير. وشدد على أن كل من القوى الإقليمية والدولية يمكنها أن تفعل أكثر من ذلك بكثير لإنهاء الصراع المحتدم في سوريا.
وسيواصل السيد دي مستورا مشاوراته مع الدول الأعضاء في المنطقة في الأيام القليلة القادمة.
14 يوليو 2015، جنيف13 July
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 2015.11 July
26 & 27 June
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
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
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.
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
On 29 May, he met with a delegation of civil society organizations from the United States working on the Syrian crisis. He said afterward that listening to civil society organizations — especially those who work on advocacy and the medical doctors who put their lives at risk every day to save the victims of chemical attacks or shelling — was yet another reminder of the daily realities of the Syrian civilians who pay the highest toll of this conflict. He said it was also an opportunity to reflect on the aspirations of the diaspora. The Special Envoy also met with delegations of European countries, namely Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.