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
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
Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, welcomed the release of human rights activist and journalist Mazen Darwish.
The issue of freedom of the press and media, as well as arbitrary detention of political and human rights activists, remains an important component of the Geneva communique.
"I am aware of reports that many more journalists, human rights and political activists remain in detention often without access to legal and medical services,” Mr. de Mistura said.
“I strongly urge the Syrian government to take further steps and release all those detained or charged for their exercise of the freedom of expression, which is a fundamental human right.”
He added that, “we should all strive to reach a sustainable political solution in Syria on the basis of international human rights standards and freedoms.”
5 August - Secretary-General encouraged by Security Council’s support for latest proposal on Syria
5 August - Special Envoy explains his proposal on thematic discussions
29 July - Remarks by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on the situation in Syria
29 July - Special Envoy for Syria briefs Security Council on the situation in Syria
26 & 27 June
25 & 26 June
In the framework of the Geneva consultations, U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura met today with a delegation from The Day After Association, led by Mr. Murhaf Joueijati, and a delegation from the Cordoba Working Group, led by Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Barmou.
Both delegations shared with the U.N. Special Envoy their perspectives for a political solution in Syria and discussed the worsening situation on the ground.
At the end of his meetings, Mr. de Mistura reiterated his strong conviction that only a political solution can address the root causes of the ongoing conflict in a sustainable manner and bring it to an end.
In the framework of the Geneva Consultations, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, met today with a delegation from the Aga Khan Foundation, composed of Mr. Mohammad Wardeh, Mr. Mohammad Seifo and Mr. Ali Esmaiel. The delegation members discussed with Mr. de Mistura the situation on the ground and shared their perspectives for a political solution.
“Civil society organizations are an important element in conflict resolution, particularly their efforts to ensure that views and concerns of all parts of societies are addressed as they can bring the voice of people and communities on the ground,” Mr. de Mistura said at the end of his meeting. “This is why their contribution is critical for a sustainable political solution which would promote human rights, pluralism and democracy,” he added.
Geneva consultations are a rolling process to seek views of all Syrian and relevant regional and international parties on the operationalization of the Geneva Communiqué.
In this context, Mr. de Mistura continues to meet separately with Syrian actors from inside and outside Syria, as well as with concerned regional and international players.
Within the framework of the ongoing Geneva Consultations, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy met today in Geneva with representatives of the Union of Syriac Women and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who briefed on the situation in Syria. They discussed ways to support people in Syria in their daily humanitarian needs. Mr. Ramzy also discussed with the representatives of the Union of Syriac Women perspectives on a political solution to the Syrian conflict which could meet the needs of diverse components, which make up integral parts of the Syrian society.
At the end of today's meetings, Mr. Ramzy stressed that, "all should put their differences aside to ensure that aid reaches all those in need, but ultimately only a political solution would allow to address the deepening humanitarian crisis in a sustainable manner." While highlighting the urgent need for a political solution to the Syrian conflict, he added that, "it is critical that women organizations are included in any political process, fully participate in it and contribute to it".4 June
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura continued his meetings today in the framework of the Geneva Consultations.
He met with the president and members of the political committee of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SOC) in Istanbul.
Mr. de Mistura listened to the views of his interlocutors regarding the operationalization and implementation of the Geneva Communiqué.
Both parties agreed on the importance and urgency of finding a political solution to the current ongoing conflict.
They also concurred on the urgency of an immediate halt of the killing and targeting of civilians.
“My visit to SOC today demonstrates, once again, that the purpose of these Consultations was and remains to give the chance to all Syrians to share their views of what a future Syria should look like,” Mr. de Mistura said.
Meanwhile in Geneva, Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldine Ramzy met with Mr. Samir Aita and Mr. Ziad Tlas who briefed on the deteriorating situation in Syria. Mr. Ramzy also met with a delegation of Japan, led by Ambassador Misako Kaji, who briefed on Japan’s support for the United Nations’ efforts to ameliorate the humanitarian situation in Syria. They discussed the ongoing initiatives to help Syrians reach a political solution to the conflict.
Mr. Ramzy observed that today's meetings in Geneva once again confirmed the desire of the international community, from far and near, to help resolve the Syrian conflict and mitigate its humanitarian consequences. He also noted that continued inaction to end the conflict is only making the military and security situation in Syria more complex.2 June