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Updated On: Tuesday, December 12 2017

De Mistura Says Progress in Syria is Possible

Content by: South-South News

29 November 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Security Council on November 27 that, “This crisis, one of the worst in the history of the UN, now has the potential, real potential, to move towards a genuine political process.”

Speaking via teleconference from Geneva, de Mistura said the processes in Astana and Amman created a clear map for de-escalation, ceasefire, and deconfliction in Syria and with the emergence of international consensus, the international community must begin to “stitch the process into concrete results, enabling Syrians to determine their own future freely.”

The Special Envoy told the Security Council that his team was preparing for the eighth round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva adding that the moment of truth has arrived for a real political process with the defeat of ISIL’s territorial foothold in Syria. He expressed serious concern at the recent escalation of violence in Eastern Ghouta, adding that as ISIL is being defeated, “neither side should turn their guns back towards de-escalation zones.”

De Mistura stressed the need for all parties to come ready to negotiate without any preconditions and for all other initiatives to support the UN mediation process. He noted “with great interest that in Da Nang, in Sochi, in Riyadh, important meetings have taken place” that might help the UN begin a genuine negotiation process in Geneva. He added, “International players are clearly looking for some common ground based on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254 and are urging Syrians to begin to find some common ground too.” He stressed that the work plan for the negotiations will focus on the constitutional and elections baskets. De Mistura said Resolution 2254 calls for free and fair elections under UN supervision with members of the diaspora, including refugees, being eligible to vote. This, he added, should be preceded by a popular ratification of a new constitution.

The Special Envoy said participants in the recent Riyadh conference reflected components of the Syrian mosaic and ideological diversity in the Syria opposition. He said all participants in the conference rejected terrorism, and agreed that the solution to the crisis can only be political. He added that the conferenced resulted in the formation of a united opposition delegation to negotiate in Geneva. He said the Syrian opposition negotiation commission was in the process of arriving to Geneva while the Syrian Government had not yet confirmed its participation, but expected to hear from them soon.

De Mistura said he will be reminding participants in the Geneva talks that the time has come to demonstrate, “not to us, not even to you, but to the Syrian people that they care about their survival, their lives, and the lives of their loved ones through immediate, unhindered, sustained humanitarian access, and through medical evacuations from the besieged areas, and willingness to addressing the plight of detainees, abductees, and missing people, and believing concretely in a negotiation on a political process.” He said the Syrian conflict has displaced half of the country’s population and reconstruction will cost at least 250 billion USD, while there remains a real danger of a soft but concrete fragmentation of Syria’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. He stressed that the support of the international community will be vital to move forward and end this crisis.

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