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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
Hide details for 11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting11 December - International Syria Support Group meeting
Technical preparatory talks for the next International Syria Support Group meeting are taking place in Geneva, at an undisclosed location, between representatives of the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the United Nations. The meeting is not being held at the Palais des Nations.


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.
Hide 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

Today the UN had to suspend its planned humanitarian intervention as part of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement on Zabadani, Madaya, Fua, and Kefraya due to the recent surge of military activities in the concerned areas.

The UN team and humanitarian partners, in fact, had made all necessary preparations and were in place to immediately implement the humanitarian provisions of the agreement.

The Syrian population in these affected areas is waiting for this agreement to be implemented so that needed humanitarian assistance can be provided to end their long-standing suffering.

The UN calls on all concerned parties to fulfill their responsibilities in the protection of civilians and reach the necessary understandings in order to implement this agreement as soon as possible. The UN reaffirms its commitment to the protection of civilians and remains ready to assist.


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
Hide 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


MR. STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Cairo, 13 September 2015

Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,

1. It is with a great sense of responsibility that I address you today – for the first time in Cairo – about what has become the world’s largest humanitarian disaster and perhaps one of the most complex political and security challenges of our times. History will judge us. I have said this at every occasion – the scope, danger and threat of the Syrian tragedy should force all of us to leave no stone unturned in trying to end this bloodshed helping Syrians to set their country on a path to healing and reconstruction.

Mr. [President],

2. Let me take a moment to recall my Office’s efforts to-date before we can address the way forward. I took on this assignment a few months after the end of the Geneva II process and the departure of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, a person I respect a lot. At that time, the Secretary-General undertook a deep assessment of the situation in Syria. On 20 June 2014 he made a quite important policy speech to the Asia Society where he outlined six UN priorities on Syria.

3. He emphasised the importance of saving lives and protecting the most precious for the Syrians, the dignity of the Syrian people. He called for new efforts to start a serious political process for a new Syria, and use the roadmap offered by the Geneva Communique for that purpose. The Communiqué is the roadmap. He urged regional and international players to lend their support to his Envoy in this respect. The Secretary-General also highlighted the importance of accountability for serious crimes, which we all know are being committed in Syria – and one day serious crimes need to be considered in the context of accountability -, and of addressing the regional dimensions of the conflict, including the extremist threat.

4. Guided by these priorities, I started my mission last September. Very quickly it became clear to me, as it remained so for you, that the political complexities of the Syrian conflict are such that there was no prospect for any political process at that time, and we needed to break this sense and not give up. Regretfully, Syrian, regional and international players, despite continuously repeating their support for a political solution. Everybody wished me good luck, saying there could only be a political solution. But other agendas were being moved forward away from the negotiations table.

5. Meanwhile Daesh took advantage of the chaos in Syria, set roots and started to expand, as well as threaten the entire region and beyond. Many, across all the political divides around the Syrian conflict, agreed on the urgent need to halt Daesh. I had hoped that this new factor, the threat of Daesh, would be enough to have a proactive discussion on fighting terrorism and the need for a political solution, as the two aspects go together. It should not be one before the other.

6. I sincerely hoped then that this unity against a common enemy could be taken to the next level. I proposed the Aleppo Freeze. In that proposal, I was guided by only one objective – saving lives from being killed by a barrel bomb or a stray mortar or gas, giving hope. Many were skeptical and remain so. Where they were right to a certain degree was that any such initiative could not work absent a political horizon. I got that message. That sense of urgency for a political horizon only intensified as horrifying images of Daesh continued atrocities, aerial bombardment by the Syrian Government, rockets by armed opposition groups affecting civilians.

7. Against this background, back in March in Sharm el-Sheikh addressing the League of Arab States, the Secretary-General instructed me to intensify efforts towards a political process. There was no indication of anything new, but he felt it essential after five years of war, 20 years after Srebrenica and as the UN was celebrating its 70th anniversary. He asked me to consult broadly with Syrians, and told me to look around to come up with recommendations on how to operationalize the Geneva Communique. On 5 May, I rolled-out a process of separate meetings with Syrian, regional and international stakeholders. We did my best to talk to all who could share any valuable analysis , and ensure that no Syrian could say he or she had not been heard.

8. As a result of over [200] meetings, in early July, I reported back to the Secretary-General my own analysis. As requested, we put forth a way to operationalize the Geneva Communique. This is the famous paper that was leaked, referencing the TGB. But unfortunately there was not enough critical mass to support this. Then I presented a process, although I do not like the term because of MEPP connotations, but it is needed to work on non-controversial issues, and maintain the pressure for a real political dialogue, regionally and beyond.

9. The themes are not new, but they require a new way to address them. They can be the beginning of a discussion. They include: safety and protection for all Syrian people; military, security and counter-terrorism issues; political and legal issues (and these two must start together, avoiding, with all due respect, what has happened in Libya), and this also include the whole essence of the TGB; and maintaining state institutions. The Secretary-General further stressed that no effort could be successful absent the substantive support from the region and the international community, except if we have a contact group to put political pressure fro countries with and influence on the situation. The plan is to start the working groups, but not giving up establishing the contact group.

Mr. [President], Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, distinguished ministers,

10. The Security Council has since taken a constructive look at what can be done politically for with a feeling of urgency. As such in its Presidential Statement adopted on 17 August, the Council endorsed the UN proposals for a way forward and themselves “emphasize[d] the need for robust international and regional assistance”.

11. We are now in a new phase. There is a massive movement of refugees. There is a danger of further militarisation. We have a clear vision of the Security Council for a way forward, that includes progress on both the political track and the fight against terrorism, not one at the expense of the other. I have a clear task to make the thematic working groups happen and establish dialogue with the countries that have an influence – some of them are in this room.

12. Over the past two months, Deputy Ramzy and I have visited several capitals and engaged all the major Syrian interlocutors – and consultations continue to-date. We have worked out the internal organizational, but also conceptual, aspects of this next phase. From Cairo, I will have further discussions in Damascus and Istanbul to prepare the announcement of the working groups. We are ready to roll-out the working group process soon. But without a contact group we have no teeth.

Mr. [President],

13. I trust you have all noted the extensive media coverage of the exacerbating suffering in Syria. Barrel bombs, gas canisters and many other nasty weapons continue to be used on human beings in Syria. Thousands of years old world heritage artefacts are being blown up in pieces. Women, men, children, elders, doctors, farmers, engineers, teachers are running away from Syria. These are the middle class, those who can contribute to the future of Syria. Some of our humanitarian colleagues assess that only some 16 million people, out of 23 million originally, are now left in Syria – with several millions living in the Daesh-controlled area.

14. This situation is a defining humanitarian challenge of our times. It is now affecting Europe and has long been affecting the neighbourhood , which has been generously welcoming large numbers of refugees, such as in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. This requires us to move faster and to be more serious about helping the Syrians. Most importantly, we must share more effectively the burden of the humanitarian crisis - for which only 37% of the appeal has been covered so far -, many of you have been generous but if the Syrian people lose hope because of a harsh and cold winter ahead of them they will only be moving to more despration.

15. Things are also changing, including in this region. I hope that the forthcoming developments would help Iran engage its neighbours in order to provide together regional support for a political solution. We hope Iran’s neighbours would also reciprocate. The United States and Russia have also started to talk to each other more about Syria than before, but so far inconclusively. There will be more opportunities during the GA One must remember where the refugees come from. They are not fleeing a sudden rain or a terrorist group. They are leaving because of war.

Mr. [President],

16. Syria is at the heart of the Arab world. Today, Syria is bleeding. It has been for the past four years. I cannot but believe all of us have an interest – moral and political - to put an end to this human tragedy and political disaster.

17. A political solution to the Syrian problem – a very complicated one, I have never seen such a complex conflict in my career over four decades and twenty conflicts - cannot be resolved without active Arab participation. Almost every Syrian I have come across yearns for a unified country – they are proud of their country and they love it - in which its citizens, regardless of the religious or ethnic affiliation, live in freedom and dignity, but also a Syria that regains its historic position at the centre of the Arab world.

Mr. [President],

18. In sum, three new 'accelerators' have appeared on the scene: the advances of ISIL; the sudden / massive movement of refugees – which culd become more massive; and the potential military escalation, are all additional stimuli for a political process. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal includes two complementary tracks: (a) thematic working gorups in recognition that Syrians need to have their say on the Geneva Communique; and (b) a Contact Group in recognition of the regional and international dimensions of the conflict and their collective and individual responsibilities to see this conflict resolved. This will require the support of all around this table.

19. In concluding, I would lijke to invite all of us to observe a minute of silence in tribute to the martyrs of Syria. Many have died in Syria and in the Mediterranean, as symbolised by the picture of the child.

Thank you!
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
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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
Hide 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
Speaking to the press following his meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on 4 August, the Secretary-General said he was encouraged by the strong support expressed by the Security Council for the proposal presented on 29 July by Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to establish four thematic groups to operationalize the Geneva communiqué. “We will try to expedite -- to provide some political solution to this, operationalizing the Geneva communiqué. At the same time, we are doing our best effort to provide humanitarian assistance to needy people” the Secretary-General said.

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
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 15 July15 July
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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FIVE WEEKS INTO THE GENEVA CONSULTATIONS

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

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

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

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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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