Syria: Gulf of mistrust, complex realities, prevent political progress – UN

Sat, Jun 26, 2021
By editor


PROGRESS towards resolving Syria’s decade-long war is unlikely, given the ‘gulf of mistrust’ among parties and complexity of conditions on the ground, the Chief UN mediator to Syria, Geir Pedersen, has said.

Pedersen told the Security Council on Friday at UN headquarters, New York, that little progress had been made on restoring the country, urging delegates to unite around elements of resolution 2254 (2015).

He also called for a new international dialogue to achieve a breakthrough.

“I think we are all disappointed that we are not making real advances on the political track,” said Special Envoy for Syria, namely constitutional reform and future elections slated to be administered under UN supervision.

Against that backdrop, he unveiled a proposal for a new international dialogue on Syria aimed at achieving steps that are reciprocal and mutual, “defined with realism and precision” and carried out in parallel.

Geir said key players should be ready to come to the table with the necessary goodwill.

“The aim is to deepen exploratory substantive consultations to identify the very first steps that Syrian and international players could deliver.’’

He explained, pressing the parties to not only explore what they ask of others – but also what actions they can entertain. “I sense that all key players are interested in deepening this conversation.”

The envoy said he had been in regular contact with senior officials from the Russian Federation and the United States before and since the recent Geneva summit, as well as other Council members and States in the region.

Geir said he would soon fly to Rome for consultations with foreign ministers participating in a Ministerial Meeting on Syria convened by Italy and the US.

The envoy said he would head to Moscow to consult with Turkey and Iran – and then to Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, for an ‘Astana format’ meeting in early July, which lies outside the UN framework.

Outlining areas where initial steps might be found, he pointed first to the call for action on detainees, abductees and missing persons in resolution 2254 (2015) – which calls for a ceasefire and settlement to the conflict.

The envoy noted that he had engaged Syria’s Government again on the topic, seeking information on the May 2 presidential decree and recent reported releases.

“A steps-for-steps discussion could help unlock more serious progress,” he suggested.

He identified the resolution’s call for a nationwide ceasefire as another area for potential cooperation, as the patchwork of regional de-escalation agreements could collapse with a dramatic escalation of violence across the frontlines.

He also pointed to economic recovery and the displacement crisis as other areas for a possible common cause.

In the meantime, Geir said he would seek to facilitate the Constitutional Committee as an important contribution to a broader process.

“I think most Syrians and most of us here in this chamber are disappointed that the Committee, which has met five times, is not yet working expeditiously to produce results,” he said. (NAN)

– June 26, 2021 @ 11:59 GMT|