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
Further to resolution 2254 (2015) of the Security Council, unanimously adopted on 18 December 2015, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, has intensified efforts towards convening representatives of the Syrian Government and the broadest possible spectrum of the Syrian opposition and others to engage in a political process leading towards implementation of the objectives and principles for a political solution to the Syrian conflict as contained in the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012, and the Vienna Statements of 30 October and 14 November 2015.
In line with the clear parameters outlined in Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the Special Envoy intends to complete his consultations in early January, with a view to initiating intra-Syrian talks on a target date of 25 January 2016 in Geneva. He counts on full cooperation of all the relevant Syrian parties in this process. Continuing developments on the ground should not be allowed to derail it. The Special Envoy also relies on the continued crucial support of the International Syria Support Group.
The people of Syria have suffered enough. Their tragedy is now felt throughout the region and beyond. They deserve the full attention and commitment from all their Syrian representatives, who should now show leadership and vision to overcome differences for the sake of Syria.
Geneva, 26 December 2015.
11 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.
24 November: Statement attributable to the spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
Geneva (24 November 2015) – In the context of his consultations following the meetings of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met early this week in Istanbul with representatives of the Syrian opposition, including on 23 November with a delegation of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC), and on 24 November with delegations from armed opposition groups.
Mr. de Mistura briefed opposition delegates on the outcomes and the key deliverables reached by the ISSG, including the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
In this context, the Special Envoy elaborated on his ongoing efforts to prepare for intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices, with a view to a Syrian-led process aimed at establishing credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance and drafting a new constitution in Syria. “This initiative, now called the intra-Syrian talks, is building upon the Working Groups proposed by the Secretary-General and myself to the Security Council in July 2015 and endorsed by the Council in its 17 August presidential statement,” Mr. de Mistura said.
In this regard, Mr. de Mistura welcomed Saudi Arabia’s initiative to convene a delegation of the Syrian opposition.
During his meetings, the Special Envoy also recalled the ISSG’s agreement to support and work to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria to come into effect as soon as the political process has begun.
بيان منسوب إلى المتحدثة باسم
14 November - Statement of the International Syria Support Group
المبعوث الخاص للأمم المتحدة لسوريا
جنيف (24 نوفمبر 2015) - في سياق مشاوراته عقب اجتماعات المجموعة الدولية لدعم سوريا في فيينا، التقى مبعوث الأمم المتحدة الخاص لسوريا ستيفان دي مستورا في وقت سابق هذا الاسبوع في اسطنبول مع ممثلي المعارضة السورية، بما في ذلك يوم 23 نوفمبر مع وفد الائتلاف الوطني للثورة السورية وقوات المعارضة، ويوم 24 نوفمبر مع وفود من جماعات المعارضة المسلحة.
اطلع السيد دي مستورا مندوبي المعارضة على النتائج والإنجازات الرئيسية التي توصلت إليها المجموعة الدولية لدعم سوريا في فيينا، بما في ذلك الربط الوثيق بين وقف إطلاق النار وعملية سياسية موازية وفقا لبيان جنيف عام 2012.
وفي هذا السياق، أوضح المبعوث الخاص على جهوده المستمرة للتحضير للمحادثات بين الأطراف السورية تحت رعاية الأمم المتحدة، بهدف التوصّل إلى عمليّة سياسيّة بقيادة سورية تهدف إلى إقامة حكم موثوق وشامل وغير طائفي وصياغة دستور جديد في سوريا . "هذه المبادرة، التي تسمى الآن المباحثات السوريّة-السوريّة، هي مبنيّة على مجموعات العمل التي كنتُ قد اقترحتُها مع الأمين العام في مجلس الأمن في يوليو 2015 وقد صادق عليه المجلس في بيان رئاسي في 17 أغسطس،" قال السيد دي مستورا.
وفي هذا الصدد، رحب السيد دي مستورا بمبادرة المملكة العربية السعودية لدعوتها إلى تشكيل وفد من المعارضة السورية.
خلال لقاءاته، أشار المبعوث الخاص أيضا إلى اتفاق المجموعة الدولية لدعم سوريا في فيينا على تقديم الدعم والعمل على تنفيذ وقف وطني لإطلاق النار في سوريا، يكون حيز التنفيذ في أقرب وقت، تزامناً مع بدء العملية السياسية.
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
13 September - Statement of the Special Envoy for Syria to the Ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States
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.
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
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.
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 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، جنيف14 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
25 & 26 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, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met today with representatives of the Syrian civil society, including Mr. Zedoun Al Zoubi and Mr. Tawfik Chamaa of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the escalating armed conflict and deteriorating situation on the ground, including the dire conditions of medical facilities, as well as on the work of Syrian civil society organizations. They also shared perspectives for a political solution and discussed ways how the civil society could contribute to efforts in reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
Within the framework of the Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met today with representatives of the Syrian Federation for Human Rights Organizations and Bodies and the National Democratic Action Committee, Ms. Mais El Krydee, Mr. Mahmoud Marai and Mr. Jwan Alyoussef. They briefed Mr. Ramzy on the overall situation on the ground as well as on the situation in the area of human rights in Syria. They also shared views and perspectives for a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
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.