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
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.
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
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.
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
In an interview with the UN News Centre
"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
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.
29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria
29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs Security Council on the situation in Syria
26 & 27 June
25 & 26 June
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.