|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6751st Meeting* (AM)
Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2042 (2012),
Authorizing Advance Team to Monitor Ceasefire in Syria
Syria’s Representative Pledges Support for Mission, Stresses Sovereignty
The Security Council today authorized an advance team to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, which it said all parties “appeared to be observing”, while calling again on the Government to begin a pull-back of military forces from population centres and cease the use of heavy weaponry in those areas.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2042 (2012), the Council also authorized a team of up to 30 unarmed military observers “to liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties”. It underlined the importance of pulling back military forces and urgently implementing in full the six-point plan proposed by Kofi Annan, Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
Calling on the parties to ensure the safety and free movement of the advance team in order to allow it to carry out its mandate, the Council stressed the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in that regard. It also reiterated its call for the authorities to allow immediate and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance.
The Council stated its intention, if the cessation of violence was sustained, to establish immediately a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor all relevant aspects of Mr. Annan’s plan, after consultations between the Secretary-General and the Syrian Government. For that purpose, it requested a formal proposal by the Secretary-General, not later than 18 April 2012.
Following the resolution’s adoption, Council members expressed hope that it would end the violence in Syria and called upon all parties to abide fully by the Joint Special Envoy’s six-point plan. However, the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, United States and others expressed regret that unified action by the Council had only come after more than a year of repression and the deaths of an estimated 10,000 people. It represented only a first step towards lasting peace and the fulfilment of the Syrian people’s aspirations, the stressed.
The Russian Federation’s representative said today’s measure was consistent with his country’s long-held view that stopping the violence in Syria was the primary goal, alongside avoiding external intervention. The text had become much more balanced through extensive negotiation, he added.
Syria’s representative said the text was still unbalanced as it did not lay enough of the onus for maintaining the ceasefire on armed opposition groups. However, the Government supported Mr. Annan’s mission and measures that would restore the country’s stability, he said, pledging support for monitoring efforts, while warning that they must respect Syria’s sovereignty. “The time for violence is gone,” he said. “The time for stewardship over us is gone as well.”
The meeting began at 11:20 a.m. and ended at 12:30 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2042 (2012) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its presidential statements of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012 and 5 April 2012, and also recalling all relevant resolutions of the General Assembly,
“Reaffirming its support to the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and his work, following General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/253 of 16 February 2012 and relevant resolutions of the League of Arab States,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter,
“Condemning the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups, recalling that those responsible shall be held accountable, and expressing its profound regret at the death of many thousands of people in Syria,
“Noting the Syrian Government’s commitment on 25 March 2012 to implement the six-point proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and to implement urgently and visibly its commitments, as it agreed to do in its communication to the Envoy of 1 April 2012, to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres, and to implement these in their entirety by no later than 10 April 2012, and noting also the Syrian opposition’s expressed commitment to respect the cessation of violence, provided the Government does so,
“Noting the Envoy’s assessment that, as of 12 April 2012, the parties appeared to be observing a cessation of fire and that the Syrian Government had started to implement its commitments, and supporting the Envoy’s call for an immediate and visible implementation by the Syrian Government of all elements of the Envoy’s six-point proposal in their entirety to achieve a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties,
“1. Reaffirms its full support for and calls for the urgent, comprehensive, and immediate implementation of all elements of the Envoy’s six-point proposal (annex) aimed at bringing an immediate end to all violence and human rights violations, securing humanitarian access and facilitating a Syrian-led political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations, ethnicities or beliefs, including through commencing a comprehensive political dialogue between the Syrian Government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition;
“2. Calls upon the Syrian Government to implement visibly its commitments in their entirety, as it agreed to do in its communication to the Envoy of 1 April 2012, to (a) cease troop movements towards population centres, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centres, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres;
“3. Underlines the importance attached by the Envoy to the withdrawal of all Syrian Government troops and heavy weapons from population centres to their barracks to facilitate a sustained cessation of violence;
“4. Calls upon all parties in Syria, including the opposition, immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms;
“5. Expresses its intention, subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, to establish immediately, after consultations between the Secretary-General and the Syrian Government, a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties and relevant aspects of the Envoy’s six-point proposal, on the basis of a formal proposal from the Secretary-General, which the Security Council requests to receive not later than 18 April 2012;
“6. Calls upon the Syrian Government to ensure the effective operation of the mission, including its advance team, by: facilitating the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities as required to fulfil its mandate; ensuring its full, unimpeded and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfil its mandate; allowing its unobstructed communications; and allowing it to freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with the mission;
“7. Decides to authorize an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, pending the deployment of the mission referred to in paragraph 5 and calls upon the Syrian Government and all other parties to ensure that the advance team is able to carry out its functions according to the terms set forth in paragraph 6;
“8. Calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of the advance team without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities;
“9. Requests the Secretary-General to report immediately to the Security Council any obstructions to the effective operation of the team by any party;
“10. Reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and calls upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution by 19 April 2012;
“12. Expresses its intention to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
“Six-Point Proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States
“(1) commit to work with the Envoy in an inclusive Syrian-led political process to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people, and, to this end, commit to appoint an empowered interlocutor when invited to do so by the Envoy;
“(2) commit to stop the fighting and achieve urgently an effective United Nations supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians and stabilize the country;
“To this end, the Syrian Government should immediately cease troop movements towards, and end the use of heavy weapons in, population centres, and begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres;
“As these actions are being taken on the ground, the Syrian Government should work with the Envoy to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism.
“Similar commitments would be sought by the Envoy from the opposition and all relevant elements to stop the fighting and work with him to bring about a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism;
“(3) ensure timely provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and to this end, as immediate steps, to accept and implement a daily two hour humanitarian pause and to coordinate exact time and modalities of the daily pause through an efficient mechanism, including at local level;
“(4) intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities, provide without delay through appropriate channels a list of all places in which such persons are being detained, immediately begin organizing access to such locations and through appropriate channels respond promptly to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
“(5) ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non‑discriminatory visa policy for them;
“(6) respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.”
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) welcomed the adoption of the resolution, but expressed regret that it had come about only after the Syrian people had suffered more than one year of brutality at the hands of their Government, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths. Reiterating support for Mr. Annan’s work and the full implementation of his six-point plan, he said: “A narrow window now exists to improve the situation on the ground,” adding that it provided the rationale for deploying the advance group. However, that was only a first step, he said, emphasizing that the Syrian Government must now meet all its commitments under the six-point plan, and ensure that the monitoring group had full freedom to accomplish its mandate. Opposition groups must also cooperate and not give the Government any excuse to renew military action, he added.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said the degree of suffering and the possibility of further destruction had put the Syrian situation “front and centre”. The Russian Federation had consistently warned against external interference, while supporting a political process to end the violence, and today’s resolution was consistent with that effort, as it included requirements of both parties. Noting that the text had become more balanced through long negotiations, he said the observer team, which would include one Russian member, must be deployed in strict accordance with the resolution. The Council, meanwhile, also awaited a detailed proposal from the Secretary-General for a more extensive mission, and it was essential that all Syrian parties quickly refrain from violence, abide fully with the six-point plan and begin a peaceful negotiating process.
PETER WITTIG (Germany), noting that the resolution just adopted was the first since the start of violent repression by the Syrian regime, welcomed the Council’s unity of action, which had come “deplorably late, but hopefully not too late”. The cessation of violence had largely held, but new reports of attacks by regime forces were now coming in. Indeed, too many promises by Damascus had not been met; it had yet to make the fundamental change of course demanded by Joint Special Envoy Annan, including a halt to military forward movement and the return of heavy weapons to the barracks. Violence would only truly end when those conditions were met, he said, adding that arbitrary detentions, torture, sexual violence and violence against children must also end immediately.
Applauding the opposition’s halting of all its activities, he said the swift deployment of the advance team would be essential to the cessation of all violence. However, conditions for the deployment of observers must be in place, and the mission must be able to implement its mandate quickly. Too often, United Nations missions had turned into “pawns in technical games”, and that must not be allowed to happen again. The Council must send the message that any such impediments would come at a high price. He emphasized that no observer mission on the ground could replace the will of the parties to end the violence and reach a peaceful settlement, and that accountability for the crimes committed must be an essential element of the transition process. “There cannot be a return to the status quo.”
LI BAODONG ( China) said his country had always maintained that the sovereignty, territorial integrity, choices and will of the Syrian people must be respected, and that the conflict must be resolved in a peaceful manner. Urging all parties to honour strictly their commitment to end all forms of violence and allow for an inclusive political process to begin, he said the Joint Special Envoy’s solution was a way forward, and China appreciated and supported his efforts. China further called on the international community to guard against words or deeds that might stand in the mission’s way, he said, adding that its deployment, with the consent of the Syrian Government and aimed at swiftly kicking off the task of supervision and the cessation of violence, would help implement the six-point plan and launch the transition process at an early date.
MOHAMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the adoption of the resolution was a practical translation of the efforts of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and of the good-faith efforts of their Joint Special Envoy to implement General Assembly resolution 66/253, the Council presidential statement of 5 April, and the relevant resolutions of the League of Arab States. Since becoming a member of the council, Morocco had been involved in all efforts aimed at allowing the Council to speak with one voice as the only option to influence events in Syria. In that respect, today’s resolution was an important landmark that hopefully would represent a decisive Council position.
He recalled that the Arab League, at its recent summit, had expressed, support for Mr. Annan’s work to achieve a swift and lasting peace as well as the immediate implementation of his six-point plan, thereby allowing for a political solution and a response to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. Morocco hoped that the deployment and actual work of the advance team would begin as soon as possible in order to verify the end of all violence and to create an environment suitable for an observer mission. Today, the Council had also reaffirmed its support for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan) said the resolution was an important step towards a peaceful resolution of the situation in Syria, with full recognition of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Strongly backing Mr. Annan’s work, he said it had shown the effectiveness of combining preventive diplomacy with mediation. All sides should cooperate with the Joint Special Envoy and pursue a peaceful settlement of the crisis, he said.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said the resolution was first and foremost a call upon the Syrian Government for a cessation of violence after more than a year of atrocities. Colombia fully supported the full implementation of Mr. Annan’s plan, particularly measures that would lead to dialogue and a lasting political resolution.
GÉRARD ARAUD (France) said he hoped the resolution would be a turning point that, in the short term, ended the violence, which had, in fact, de-escalated in the past days, though today’s attacks on the population of Homs had led to doubts. “We will judge the Syrian regime by its acts and nothing else,” he said, pointing out that the de-escalation had only come after much repression, for which there must be criminal accountability. In all areas of the plan, the Government must meet its commitments fully, he emphasized. An end to violence meant an end to all torture, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and other human rights violations committed by the regime for more than 13 months.
In order for the monitoring mission to succeed, it was critical that the regime pull back its troops and heavy weaponry from population centres, he continued. The aim was not just to freeze the situation on the ground, but to lead to steps that would allow the realization of the Syrian people’s aspirations through a peaceful political solution. He welcomed the unity regained by the Council today and paid tribute to Mr. Annan’s work, while noting that the consensus among members was fragile and the country still teetered on the edge of civil war. He called on all of them to remain united and be prepared to take actions that would lead to a lasting end to the violence.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said his country had consistently supported all efforts to end the crisis through an inclusive, Syrian-led political process that met the legitimate aspirations of the people. It was a matter of satisfaction that Joint Special Envoy Annan’s efforts had resulted in a cessation of violence, he said, welcoming that development as well as the Syrian Government’s commitment to the six-point plan. India expected the opposition also to adhere to the relevant parts of the plan, he said, expressing hope that all parties, including the opposition, would implement their responsibilities regarding the advance mission to be deployed. Noting the Government’s support for an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, he urged it to maintain that support in order to end the crisis without further bloodshed. It was also necessary that all countries in the region and beyond show their support for the Joint Special Envoy’s plan, he added.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) recalled that Council had previously not managed to speak with one voice on Syria. Today, in deciding to authorize a limited monitoring team to facilitate the complete and immediate implementation of the Joint Special Envoy’s six-point plan, it had sent a message in unison. Togo firmly supported implementation of the resolution by all parties, and pledged its support for Mr. Annan and his team. “For a long time now, all Syrians have been awaiting this type of action from the Council,” he said, adding that the resolution should pave the way for the initiation of a political process that would allow all Syrians to make a contribution in building a free and prosperous nation.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV (Azerbaijan) said his delegation had from the outset expressed its full support for the Joint Special Enjoy and his six-point proposal. The Council had also supported Mr. Annan’s mission from its inception, and the resolution today was another example of its unanimity. It was important that the resolution reaffirmed the Council’s commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, he said, adding that he had voted in favour of the resolution in the hope that its adoption would lead to the end of human suffering in Syria.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) said the resolution was a first step that had come tragically late, and much more must be done to avoid a civil war in Syria. Calling on the Government to cooperate fully with Special Envoy Annan and immediately implement his full six-point plan, including the pull-back of troops, he said all parties must guarantee freedom of movement for the monitoring mission and its advance party. Those responsible for human rights violations must be held accountable, he emphasized, calling for an end to armed violence in all its forms, and for a credible, Syrian-led political process.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) also called for an end to all violence to and expressed support for Mr. Annan’s plan, calling on all sides to implement fully all their commitments. South Africa welcomed the steps already taken and called on all sides to guarantee the safety and access of the monitoring mission and its advance team. He underlined the importance of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of helping the country work for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said his country had always held that the violence in Syria must cease immediately and that “the only way” out was a process of political dialogue, led by Syrians that would result in the reforms that the country’s people demanded. Guatemala’s support of the resolution not only pursued those aims, but implied its total support for the Joint Special Envoy’s initiative, while also reflecting its continuing support for the Arab League’s search for a peaceful outcome to the Syrian situation, he said.
Council President SUSAN RICE (United States), speaking in her national capacity, said that after more than a year of brutal violence by the Assad regime, after some 10,000 deaths, 45,000 people driven out of Syria and many more out of their homes, after the “grotesque destruction” of towns and neighbourhoods, the Government had finally said that it was ready to “step back from its murderous policies”. The Council, for its part, had said today that it would judge the Government by its actions and not by its words. It had taken a step towards fulfilling its responsibilities, she said, adding that it was “about time”. A fragile calm appeared to be prevailing and would hopefully continue, she said.
Nonetheless, “we are under no illusions”, she stressed. Two days of calm after a year of violent rampage hardly proved that the regime was serious about its commitments. More deaths had been reported just today and such renewed violence cast serious doubts, yet again, on the cessation of violence. The opposition had honourably sought to expand the fragile calm, barely responding to those actions by the regime, which must meet all its commitments, not just the bare minimum. “And it must do so now,” she emphasized.
The Arab League had proposed a way forward to end the violence and meet the aspirations of the Syrian people, but the regime had responded with broken promises and an outrageous escalation of violence, she said. That horrific cycle had lasted way too long, and the Syrian people must be allowed to exercise their rights and freedoms peacefully and without fear. Commending the opposition again for the restraint it had shown during the ceasefire, she urged the Government to honour its commitments “that are clear to everyone”.
The resolution just adopted established the Council’s intention to launch a larger mission if it was clear that that ceasefire was holding and that the Government was cooperating, she said. On the other hand, any Government obstruction of its work would raise serious concerns about moving forward. The United States expressed its appreciation for the Joint Special Envoy and its commitment to his plan, which aimed for legitimate and stable governance in Syria, she said. “The opportunity is there, the burden is now on the Syrian Government to seize it.”
BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria), recalling the recent killings of a son of the Imam of Syria and a university professor, said the authorities had arrested two young men who had confessed to the crimes. Each had been promised $800 for every crime they committed. That was an answer to those who questioned the existence of armed gangs in Syria, he said, stressing the importance of urging them to end their violence, as some had indeed done today. Syria would spare no effort to ensure the success of Mr. Annan’s mission and end the crisis, which threatened the country’s stability.
He went on to say that the Syrian Government had taken serious measures to comply with Mr. Annan’s plan, declaring its intention to end armed confrontations and providing frequent updates on its efforts in that regard to Mr. Annan, in addition to accepting a monitoring mission. However, the mission must act within the limits of Syrian sovereignty, which “represented a red line that cannot be crossed under any condition”. Meanwhile, there had been an increase in terrorist acts as well as threats to use a refugee crisis as an excuse for imposing buffer zones and foreign military intervention.
Some delegations did not hold armed gangs to account for their violence, even though some 50 violations had been recorded since the declaration of the ceasefire, he said, adding that he found it “puzzling” that those who claimed to care about human rights did not care about violations committed by armed gangs, including kidnapping, torture, recruitment of child soldiers and the use of civilians as human shields. Accounts of such atrocities had been documented, and Mr. Annan must obtain guarantees from the armed gangs that they would abide by his plan. Certain States must also stop encouraging them to continue the violence and avoid national dialogue.
Describing the recent conference in Istanbul as an attempt to undermine Mr. Annan’s mission, he said some participants had proposed that Gulf countries fund the armed groups, offering $100 million to “feed the flames” of the crisis. What did it mean when some States said they supported Mr. Annan’s mission while engaging in such actions? he asked. The States encouraging further armed opposition must be held to account, and those supporting sanctions must be held responsible for the additional suffering in Syria, he emphasized, noting that a settling of regional scores in the current crisis exacerbated factionalism and could cause a much greater conflagration.
Syria was ready to continue cooperating with Mr. Annan, he said, expressing hope that the Joint Special Envoy would not allow any party to escape its commitments. While today’s resolution was not balanced, it was in Syria’s interest to cooperate with measures aimed at restoring stability. Those who had voted in favour of the resolution could help by ending sanctions and taking other measures that would help the Syrian people, instead of arming Israel. “The time for violence is gone,” he said. “The time for stewardship over us is gone as well,” he added, referring to the upcoming anniversary of the end of the French mandate over Syria.
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* The 6750th Meeting was closed.