SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th concerning the armed conflict and the situation in act in the Middle East in the Syria.

SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th
on the question inherent at the creation and at the definition a “Constitutional Committee” necessary in order to define and promote a “constituent process” preparatory at the definition and at the writing of a new Constitution for the Syria aimed at representing and protecting the various souls, ethnic and religious parts in the course of living in the human, social, political contexts in the individual and collective as well as in the public and social areas and fields of interest.
(AM-Anti Meridian Hours Session of Works).

The 28th of february 2019

Pleased for the fact that the Humanitarian Convoy reaching Rukban, the Special Envoy on the Syria says that the “Constitutional Committee” could pave way for genuine negotiations.
Opening a door to peace in Syria hinges on creating a “Constitutional Committee” that can forge ways to advance the political process with a view to ending the eight-year-long conflict, the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for that country told the Security Council today.

of Benedetto Loprete

SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th on the question inherent at the creation and at the definition a “Constitutional Committee” necessary in order to define and promote a “constituent process” preparatory at the definition and at the writing of a new Constitution for the Syria.

Sharing a plan to move along a path to peace amid the current volatile situation on the ground, Special Envoy Geir Pedersen said his team would focus on maintaining direct and effective communication with the Government and stakeholders, strengthening international support and working on ways to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. After recent discussions, he said he sensed a wide acceptance among parties of convening a credible and balanced “Constitutional Committee” as soon as possible, which can be «a door-opener to a deeper dialogue and genuine negotiations».

Despite a shared sense that battlefield developments might be winding down, he said the conflict is far from over and the challenges of winning peace are staggering in scale and complexity. Large tracts of territory remain outside Government hands, half of the population is displaced and 11.7 million need humanitarian aid. While pleased by a humanitarian convoy reaching 40,000 internally displaced persons in Rukban and the release of detainees, he said several challenges must be urgently addressed to avoid violence escalating and spilling over the borders. While intensive diplomacy is under way, more must be done about the situation in the north-east.

«We are not starting from scratch», he said, summarizing meetings with the Government of Syria, which reaffirmed an agreement to sustained dialogue based on provisions outlined in resolution 2254 (2015), and frank, practical and constructive engagements with a range of stakeholders. «Syrians have every capacity to live in peace and a political settlement is plainly needed if we are to see real and genuine reconciliation. There is no military solution and the true victors will be those who can move beyond slogans and paint a hopeful picture of what Syria could look like in 10 years – a picture that all Syrians can support, even if the road towards it will be long and hard».

However, several challenges must be urgently addressed to avoid renewed escalations of violence that could spill over the borders, he said, noting that intensive diplomacy is under way, but more is needed regarding the future situation in the north-east. «I believe a way forward is needed that ensures the unity and territorial integrity of Syria», he said. Welcoming the recent Sochi Summit’s fresh impetus to fully implement the Idlib Memorandum, he urged stakeholders to continue to focus on this leading up to the next Astana meeting. For its part, the global community must ensure that international norms against chemical weapons use are respected. In addition, the growing risk of further confrontations between Israel and Iran in Syria should not be overlooked.

Council members, welcoming the new Special Envoy, raised several concerns, among them the need to address the humanitarian situation, release detainees, uphold the Russian-Turkish ceasefire in Idlib and forge a united path among themselves.

Delegates supported the timely creation of a “Constitutional Committee” as a way to further advance peace talks. Belgium’s representative said forming such a Syrian-owned, Syrian-led committee facilitated by the United Nations can potentially open the door to other aspects of the political process. However, to be effective, he said the committee must have a credible, inclusive membership, and any agreement on its composition must also address procedures and working methods.

Speakers also emphasized the need to work in tandem towards common goals, with Kuwait’s delegate pointing out a lack of progress in implementing resolutions. «The conflict has continued, and this hampers the legitimacy of the Council».

Similarly, South Africa’s delegate called on the Council to unite towards the full implementation of resolution 2254 (2015) as the road map for a long-term solution. The United States representative explained that his Government remains determined to implement the text, a process being stalled by the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, the Russian Federation’s delegate insisted that the Astana process, led by Iran, Turkey and his country, was making strides and that rebuilding trust is the best way forward. Others emphasized a need for women’s full participation in an inclusive political process.

In a similar vein, Germany’s representative, noting his country is among the largest contributors of humanitarian aid in Syria, said «we will only participate in a reconstruction if there is a credible and inclusive process with a political transition under way».

The representative of Syria said some Council members asked for preconditions instead of just encouraging the Special Envoy’s efforts. «Syrians, and Syrians alone, must decide on their future without any external interference», he said, expressing his Government’s readiness to cooperate with the Special Envoy on a Syrian-led political process. «This political process is in Syria’s interest».

Stressing the need to end the foreign presence in Syria and to ensure sovereignty, he said that any political process that does not take this into account will be unsuccessful. Removing the illegitimate presence of forces from Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States is also critical, he said, calling on the international community to support efforts by Syria and its allies in combating the remnants of terrorist groups.

Also speaking today were the representatives of France, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, China, Indonesia, Poland, Peru, United Kingdom and Equatorial Guinea.

The meeting began at 10:30 a.m. and ended at 12:35 p.m.

Briefings.

the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen, briefing the Council for the first time in his present capacity, said that, in recent meetings, he reminded all parties of the provisions of resolution 2254 (2015) on elements required for a political solution. He emphasized that a real peace process in Syria needs to be owned by the Syrians for it to be sustainable, while demanding compliance with international law and stressing a need to protect civilians, ensure unfettered humanitarian access and cease hostilities. Summarizing meetings in Syria with the Government, which reaffirmed an agreement to sustained dialogue based on resolution 2254 (2015), he said engagements with stakeholders have been frank, practical and constructive.

The 28th of february 2019, Intervention of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen on the situation in the Middle East in the Syrian Arab Republic in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations.

«We are not starting from scratch», he said. «We have 12 living principles developed by the Syrians in Geneva and affirmed in Sochi. We have baskets that have formed an agreed agenda of intra-Syrian talks under United Nations facilitation». Outlining several pertinent issues going forward, he said it was essential that he have direct and effective engagement with the Government of Syria and the opposition.

There is a shared sense that battlefield developments might be winding down, he said, but the conflict is far from over and the challenges of winning peace are staggering in scale and complexity. Large tracts of territory remain outside Government hands and while Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) is nearly defeated, but could re-emerge. Meanwhile half of the population is displaced, with 5.6 million refugees and 6.6 million internally displaced persons; 80 per cent of Syrians live below the poverty line, half are unemployed and 11.7 million need humanitarian aid.

Pleased with the recent convoy to reach 40,000 internally displaced persons in Rukban, he said the United Nations stood ready to support a durable solution. However, socioeconomic challenges are acute and eight years of war has transformed society, making it ever more difficult for women, who have become primary breadwinners while facing increased forms of violence. Syria remains volatile for those who remain inside and those wishing to return.

Citing some achievements, he was encouraged by the release of 42 detainees and abductees conducted by the Russian-Turkish framework, but these efforts must be scaled up. In addition, the Syrian people need to be engaged and involved in the effort to build confidence and trust and search for peace, he said, noting that his team met with more than 200 civil society actors. While deepening dialogue with partners, he sensed a wide acceptance of convening a credible and balanced “Constitutional Committee” as soon as possible, which can be «a door-opener to a deeper dialogue and genuine negotiations». For his part, he would work towards improving international dialogue and cooperation.

However, several challenges must be urgently addressed to avoid renewed escalations of violence that could spill over the borders, he said, noting that intensive diplomacy is under way, but more is needed regarding the future situation in the north-east. «I believe a way forward is needed that ensures the unity and territorial integrity of Syria», he said. Welcoming the recent Sochi Summit’s fresh impetus to fully implement the Idlib Memorandum, he urged stakeholders to continue to focus on this leading up to the next Astana meeting. For its part, the global community must ensure that international norms against chemical weapons use are respected. In addition, the growing risk of further confrontations between Israel and Iran in Syria should not be overlooked.

«There are real possibilities for strengthening international support and I believe we need to be creative in this regard», he said. «If we are to see how issues can be unblocked and how to help the parties move in a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process, a common forum where key States engage seriously on those issues may be needed».

Pledging to pursue these areas in the period ahead, he said: «Syrians have every capacity to live in peace and a political settlement is plainly needed if we are to see real and genuine reconciliation. There is no military solution and the true victors will be those who can move beyond slogans and paint a hopeful picture of what Syria could look like in 10 years – a picture that all Syrians can support, even if the road towards it will be long and hard». Noting that over his career, he has worked with problems that seemed totally intractable involving dynamics that seemed eternally fixed, he said: «But, I know first-hand that history can bend in directions that nobody anticipated».

Statements.

JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States of America) underscored his Government’s determination to implement Council resolution 2254 (2015), a process that has been stalled by the Russian Federation. He said that the proposed “Constitutional Committee” must be balanced and include members of Syrian civil society. «It’s clear that violence must stop in order for a political solution to take hold», he added. This requires the Assad regime upholding agreed ceasefires. More specifically, he urged all parties to maintain the Russian-Turkish ceasefire in Idlib. «It is essential for protecting the nearly 3 million civilians living there», he stressed. Any major military operation in Idlib would not only be reckless, it would cost many civilian lives. Resolution 2254 (2015) calls on the parties to release detainees held by the Assad regime; progress on that is vital to achieving a political solution, which can only be arrived at with the full implementation of the resolution.

BADER ABDULLAH N. M. ALMUNAYEKH (Kuwait) expressed concern that there has been no progress on Syria for a number of years, calling on the Council to ensure relevant resolutions are implemented. «But, the conflict has continued, and this hampers the legitimacy of the Council», he emphasized. Resolution 2254 (2015) outlines a plan of action to arrive at a just political settlement. «However, the resolution has not been fully implemented», he said. The most recent visit of Special Envoy Pedersen demonstrates commitment to the political process. The 2012 Geneva communiqué is also an extremely important document and the Council should ensure its implementation. He called for the “Constitutional Committee” to be balanced, credible, and inclusive of all components of Syrian society. Beyond any political efforts, work among various parties is essential as is the release of detainees. The Syrian crisis has led to serious violations of international humanitarian law. Those who are accountable must be brought to justice. He also rejected any attempt to change the demography of Syria.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that it would be a bad political mistake to assume the Syrian conflict is over. «It is not. The conflict is entering its ninth year», he emphasized. The risk of regional escalation is growing by the day. The overwhelming majority of refugees who fled Syria do not foresee returning. The international community’s responsibility is to seize any opportunity to achieve a political and inclusive solution that would avoid a «new black decade in Syria». The Security Council must overcome its divisions and continue to combat terrorism. The fight against ISIL/Da’esh is ongoing and will remain a top priority for France. «We must do everything possible to preserve the ceasefire [in Syria]», he added, urging the Council to unite to ensure respect for international law. This involves guaranteeing protection of civilians and aid workers. It is equally essential to deter the use of chemical weapons in Syria and ensure a firm response when such weapons are used. He fully supported the Special Envoy’s efforts to set up a comprehensive road map for achieving resolution 2254 (2015), and to prepare for free and fair elections. The Council must support the Special Envoy’s work. Only an inclusive political solution will provide resolution to the conflict and ensure that justice is served. «It is up to the regime in Damascus to create the conditions for a return of refugees», he added.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that rebuilding lost trust is a key way forward. Maintaining a normal working dialogue with Damascus must, among other things, focus on stabilizing the situation in Syria, including in relation to the forthcoming donor conference in Brussels. Efforts to form a “Constitutional Committee” are continuing through the Astana process, which has already seen several achievements, he said. The Astana troika – Iran, Russian Federation and Turkey – is working towards stated goals, including «unfreezing» the situation in the north-east, he added, welcoming the acknowledgement by the United States that fighting terrorism cannot be at the expense of harm to civilians. The Russian Federation hopes for future progress on the release of prisoners, mine clearance and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, among other areas.
Speaking on behalf of the Astana troika, he said that his country’s Government is willing to hold discussions with all parties. As a permanent Council member, the Russian Federation will continue to seek a solution, he said, assuring the Special Envoy: «You can rely on our help».

KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire), expressing concern about ceasefire violations, called upon all parties to end hostilities and work towards dialogue. He also called upon the parties, civil society and the international community to cooperate fully with the independent mechanism investigating those suspected of violating international law. Commending the progress of the Astana process working group pilot project, he also voiced full support for the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy and called upon the Syrian parties to cooperate with his efforts to launch a new dynamic in the political process.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said that forming a Syrian-owned, Syrian-led “Constitutional Committee” facilitated by the United Nations can potentially open the door to other aspects of the political process. However, if it is to be an effective tool, such a committee must have a credible, inclusive membership, and any agreement on its composition must also address procedures and working methods. In that regard, the Special Envoy must put his own strategy in place, he said. Expressing support for mechanisms intended to end impunity, he also expressed concern about returning refugees, saying that the practice of pillaging and expropriation must end in order to guarantee their dignified return. Turning to continuing violence on ground, he called upon all parties to respect the Russian-Turkish accord in Idlib, adding that further efforts are needed to address the situation in Deir-ez-Zor, so as to ensure that Da’esh does not re-emerge.

JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic), calling upon the parties to honour resolution 2254 (2015), said the Council must remain united with a view to facilitating an inclusive political process that guarantees viable conditions for all, especially the Syrian people. Collective efforts for national reconciliation must build trust in the political process among Syrians, including by offering lasting solutions to the people’s suffering, releasing detainees and clarifying concerns about missing persons. In addition, Syrian society must be inclusive, with women participating fully, he stressed.

WU HAITAO (China) welcomed the reaffirmation by Turkey, Iran and the Russian Federation of their commitment to cracking down on terrorists and ensuring a peaceful and political solution to the conflict in Syria. The United Nations and the wider international community should continue to play a role as a main channel of mediation, he added. Noting that terrorism threatens Syria’s stability, he called upon the international community to crack down on all terrorist groups listed by the Security Council. China, for its part, remains committed to a political solution in Syria and stands ready to play an active part in advancing that goal, he said.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said it is critical to support efforts for the establishment of a credible and inclusive political process in Syria, including a “Constitutional Committee” that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. This is not an easy task, but it is doable, he added. Genuine dialogue is the most important foundation for building trust and confidence and is crucial to the success of the peace process, he said, emphasizing that it is fundamental that all sides cease hostilities and avoid resorting to force. Ceasefire agreements play an important role in facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and advancing the cause of peace and reconciliation, he noted.

JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) said that the only sustainable way to resolve the Syrian question is through an inclusive Syrian-led dialogue aimed at achieving a political transition. He called on the Council to unite towards the full implementation of resolution 2254 (2015) as the road map for a long-term solution. Recent comprehensive and in-depth engagements have been critical to building trust between the Syrian people and the region. Equally important to the success of the political process is the need to respect the ceasefire and de-escalation agreements, and to continue to fight terrorism. «Democracy is an unassailable right of the Syrian people», he stressed.

JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said the situation in Syria is at a critical juncture following the Idlib ceasefire agreement, which created a positive dynamic. However, questions persist regarding the sustainability of future arrangements, the degree of compliance by the parties and the difficult situation of internally displaced persons and other civilians in Idlib and its surroundings. Emphasizing the need to prevent military hostilities with potentially disastrous humanitarian consequences, she urged the parties to condemn all arbitrary detentions, kidnappings and forced disappearances, while ensuring accountability for war crimes. The political process has failed to gain traction, she noted, citing the inability to form a “Constitutional Committee” to date. Calling for an intra-Syrian framework political agreement, she said that a cessation of hostilities might provide a chance for Geneva-based peace talks to succeed. Any political solution must be brokered in accordance with resolution 2254 (2015) and the Geneva communiqué, she stressed, calling for the immediate formation of a “Constitutional Committee”.

CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) said the United Nations must seize this window of opportunity to end the terrible conflict in Syria. Stressing the need to end impunity, he also emphasized the importance of building confidence through, for example, the release of abducted detainees. People will only come home when they know there will be no torture or expropriation of their houses. The “Constitutional Committee” must be credible, balanced and inclusive of women. «Women and children have suffered most in this conflict and they have to be represented», he reiterated. The humanitarian situation in Syria remains dire. Germany is one of the largest donors of aid. «We will only participate in a reconstruction if there is a credible and inclusive process with a political transition under way», he added.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) emphasized the urgent need to make progress on an inclusive political process under United Nations auspices. All parties must work constructively and show flexibility to build trust and promote reconciliation, he said, expressing hope that the “Constitutional Committee” will convene in Geneva as soon as possible. The release of detainees and the return of the remains of missing persons would help create a better climate of understanding. Warning against an escalation of the conflict, he stressed the need for financial resources and political will to enable the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, whose property rights must not be overlooked. He went on to say that the presence of foreign forces to combat terrorism must always be provisional in nature.

KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom of the Great Britain) said that, for Syria to be rehabilitated into the international community, there must be a political settlement based on resolution 2254 (2015) and addressing all the underlying issues that led to the crisis in the first place. Emphasizing that «there is nothing ideological in the United Kingdom’s position», she called for a political settlement that is inclusive, credible and sustainable. Expressing concern about the safety of civilians in Idlib, she said fighting terrorism is not a license to harm non-combatants. On the situation in Syria’s north-east, she welcomed the announcement by the United States, adding that there is more to do against Da’esh despite its territorial losses. Hopefully, collaboration in combating terrorism can continue, but in the context of assisting a political settlement, she said.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), Council President for February, speaking in his national capacity, said it is imperative for the Special Envoy to establish frank and open cooperation with Syria’s authorities and the Astana guarantors. He appealed for progress in establishing a “Constitutional Committee”, adding that the Government of Syria must show great will to negotiate a broad-reaching and acceptable political settlement. Now is the time for Syria and all parties involved to move into an active political phase that includes setting up a “Constitutional Committee” and drafting a new Constitution. Equatorial Guinea does not wish to see any further delays in establishing the committee and deadlock should not lead to the failure of the Astana process, he said.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said the Special Envoy faces a worrisome number of preconditions expressed today by several colleagues. Some Council members have spoken about a vast number of refusals and preconditions instead of just encouraging the Special Envoy to move forward and carry out his noble work. «We continue to have lunatic and stunning opinions expressed over the work of the Special Envoy», he said, adding that the objective is to put political pressure. «My advice to you would be to reduce the number of briefings you deliver to the Council and focus on carrying out your mandate», he said to the Special Envoy, adding that Syria is ready to cooperate with him on a Syrian-led political process. «This political process is in Syria’s interest», he said, stressing the need to end the foreign presence in his country and ensure sovereignty.

Any political process that does not take this into account will be unsuccessful, he continued, adding that the decision of the United States to keep an intelligence and military presence in Syria’s territory has been lauded by several Council members, including France and the United Kingdom. These are parties trying to impose their agenda on Syria. Anything concerning the Constitution must be decided by the Syrian people. Ending the illegitimate presence of foreign forces on Syrian soil, including from the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey, is critical. Any foreign military presence in Syria without the approval of its Government violates basic international principles and law. He called on the international community to support the efforts of the Syrian State and its allies in combating the remnants of terrorist groups.

The Syrian war was caused by foreign fighters, he said, adding that more than 100,000 fighters had travelled to Syria from abroad. European officials have recently begun to recognize that the return of terrorists from Syria poses a threat to their respective countries. This contradicts the previously stated notion that these fighters were battling for freedom in Syria. He asked: «Why the recruitment, training and sending of these terrorists to Syria? Why was it so easy to send these jihadists to Syria?» These countries want terrorists to destabilize Syria. He urged the international community to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people. Coercive measures, including sanctions, have damaged the economy and caused immense hardship for ordinary people. He called on all Syrian refugees who fled terrorism to return home. Syria is determined to recover all its territory liberated from terrorism. «Syrians, and Syrians alone, must decide on their future without any external interference», he stressed.

Photography: The Intervention of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen on the situation in the Middle East in the Syrian Arab Republic in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations the 28th of february 2019.

Benedetto Loprete

Source:
28.02.2019: SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th on the question inherent at the creation and at the definition a “Constitutional Committee” necessary in order to define and promote a “constituent process” preparatory at the definition and at the writing of a new Constitution for the Syria.

Source:
28.02.2019: SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th on the question inherent at the creation and at the definition a “Constitutional Committee” necessary in order to define and promote a “constituent process” preparatory at the definition and at the writing of a new Constitution for the Syria.

Source:
28.02.2019: SC/13724: United Nations Security Council Meeting n. 8475th on the question inherent at the creation and at the definition a “Constitutional Committee” necessary in order to define and promote a “constituent process” preparatory at the definition and at the writing of a new Constitution for the Syria.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council
of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council
of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council
of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.

Source:
28.02.2019: Briefing to the Security Council
of the Special Envoy for the Syria of the United Nations for the Secretary-General, Her Excellency Honourable Ambassador Mr. Geir Otto Pedersen in the course of the meeting n. 8475th of the Security Council of the United Nations of the 28th of february 2019.