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Geneva Consultations on Syria - 2015


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
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
Hide 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

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”.

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
Hide 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

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the Special Envoy for Syria

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed his utmost condemnation of yesterday's air raids on a market place in the town of Duma. According to preliminary reports, this attack claimed scores of lives and injured significant numbers. The number of lives lost is still being determined.

“The Government's bombing of Duma yesterday is devastating. Attacks on civilian areas with aerial indiscriminate bombs, such as vacuum bombs, are prohibited under international law. Hitting crowded civilian markets killing almost one hundred of its own citizens by a government is unacceptable in any circumstances,” Mr. de Mistura said.

The attack of yesterday come on the heels of the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus last week by armed opposition groups and the cutting of water supplies, all measures which affect civilians and are also unacceptable.

This latest attack is yet another illustration of the brutality of the ongoing conflict.

"Humanitarian access must be allowed unconditionally and the killing must stop. This conflict will have no military solution, as has been proven over the recent years,” Mr. de Mistura said.

The Special Envoy calls on all Syrian parties to urgently cease all acts of violence and start dialogue towards a political solution to this crisis.

17 August 2015, Geneva

أعرب مبعوث الأمم المتحدة الخاص لسوريا ستيفان دي ميستورا عن إدانته البالغة للغارات الجوية أمس على السوق في بلدة دوما. وفقا للتقارير الأولية، أدّى هذا الهجوم الى سقوط عشرات القتلى وجرح أعداد كبيرة. لا يزال يجري تحديد عدد الخسائر في الأرواح.

"إنّ قصف الحكومة لدوما أمس أمرٌ مدمر. كما أنّ الهجمات على المناطق المدنية بقنابل عشوائيّة جوية، مثل القنابل الفراغية، أمرٌ محظور بموجب القانون الدولي. كما أنّ ضرب الأسواق المدنية المزدحمة، الذي أسفر عن مقتل ما يقرب من مائة من مواطنيها، من قبل الحكومة أمر غير مقبول في أي ظرف من الظروف،" قال السيّد دي مستورا.

هجمات أمس تأتي في أعقاب القصف العشوائي على دمشق الاسبوع الماضي من قبل جماعات المعارضة المسلحة وقطع إمدادات المياه، وجميعها تدابير تؤثر على المدنيين وهو أمر غير مقبول.

هذه الهجمات الاخيرة هي مثال آخر على وحشية الصراع الدائر.

"يجب السماح بوصول المساعدات الإنسانية دون قيد أو شرط ويجب أن يُتوقّف القتل. لن يكون لهذا الصراع حل عسكري، كما ثبت خلال السنوات الأخيرة،" قال السيّد دي مستورا.

يدعو المبعوث الخاص جميع الأطراف السورية إلى الكف على وجه السرعة عن جميع أعمال العنف وبدء الحوار من أجل التوصل إلى حل سياسي لهذه الأزمة.

17 آب 2015، جينيف

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
Hide details for 5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions
In an interview with the UN News Centre on 30 July, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura explained his proposal of launching thematic discussions through intra-Syrian working groups to address key aspects of the Geneva Communiqué. “One is the humanitarian issue, which means access. People are requesting a format through which access can be guaranteed for many things: medicines, humanitarian aid, food. And there is, of course, the mother of all issues: the political process. And that means how to get into a [political] transition, through a transitional governing body, but do so in a way that you are not actually producing an immediate shake-up, rather, a scenario where you are getting, gradually but clearly, to a different political scenario, where everyone is included. All that can be part and should be part of this working group, so that when the right time comes, the working groups would be ready”, the Envoy noted.

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 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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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.

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On 21 May, Mr. de Mistura received a delegation from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, led by Mr. Nawaf Al Tal, Adviser to the Foreign Minister. Mr. Al Tal shared his Government’s assessments of the situation in Syria, the extent of the humanitarian suffering and its impact on the neighboring countries, as well as ways to end the conflict there through diplomatic efforts. In his separate meeting with a delegation of the European Union, led by EEAS Managing Director Mingarelli, the Special Envoy heard the EU’s emphasis on a search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Mr. Mingarelli reiterated the EU’s full support for the OSE-led effort to create a conducive environment for the resumption of a meaningful political process. The Special Envoy also met with Ms. Basma Kodmani, Executive Director of the Arab Reform Initiative, Mr. Samir Aita, member of the Syrian Democratic Forum, and Mr. Nabil Kassis of the Al-Waed party. At the end of the day, Mr. de Mistura observed that, “deepening humanitarian and security concerns, as well as the evolving priorities of the people in Syria, are outpacing discussions over a political solution in Syria. The ISIL/Daesh offensive on Palmyra is a stark reminder of that”, he stressed. Mr. de Mistura also took note of calls on the United Nations to redouble efforts to help Syrian and regional actors reach an agreement on a peaceful future Syria.
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