Expressing grave alarm over the continuing crisis in Syria and its toll of over 250,000 dead and 12 million displaced, the Security Council this afternoon affirmed its support for the approach of Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in moving forward a political solution to the conflict.
Through a statement read aloud by August Council President U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, the 15-member body commended the Special Envoy for his efforts in convening consultations from April to June 2015 with a broad range of stakeholders as part of the effort to implement the 2012 Geneva Communiqué that laid out a framework for negotiations towards an inclusive, Syrian-led transition to end the crisis.
The Council concurred with the Envoy’s priority areas for further discussions with and between Syrian parties, including “safety and protection for all; political and legal issues; military, security and counter-terrorism issues; and continuity of public services and reconstruction and development”.
[In an open briefing to the Council on 29 July 2015, Mr. de Mistura outlined plans to facilitate the formation of intra-Syrian working groups on those issues (see Press Release SC/11988)].
Reiterating positions expressed in previous texts, the Council demanded a cessation of attacks against civilians, as well as the end of a raft of human rights abuses and the indiscriminate use of weapons, including barrel bombs, in populated areas. Condemning terrorism, it called on all parties to commit to ending attacks perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) and other entities associated with Al-Qaida.
Urging all stakeholders to work towards a Syrian-led transition, the Council said that the process should include “the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions”.
The representative of Venezuela, Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño, said he went along with the consensus in the interest of peace, but objected to the language in paragraphs 8 and 10 describing a transitional governing body, which he said violated the sovereignty of Syria and ignored the part that the Government must play in solving the conflict and determining the course of its future, and thus went against the Charter of the United Nations. Syria, he stressed, now required the support of the international community to fight terrorism. “If the [Bashar] [al-]Assad Government was defeated, the black flag of ISIS would fly over Damascus,” he said.
It was critical, he added, to avoid mistakes made in Libya, where a change of Government, forced externally, empowered terrorist groups. He demanded an end to the support given to such groups and their crimes against humanity. He also objected that many delegations were excluded from the drafting of today’s statement, and said that “such undemocratic processes must end”.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:25 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement contained in document S/PRST/2015/15 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), and 2235 (2015) and presidential statements of 3 August 2011, 2 October 2013 and 24 April 2015.
“The Security Council reaffirms its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria and all other States affected by the Syrian conflict, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
“The Security Council stresses that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and, in this regard, emphasizes the urgency for all parties to work diligently and constructively towards this goal.
“The Security Council reiterates its demands as set forth in resolution 2139 that all parties cease any attacks against civilians as such, as well as any indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, including such use involving shelling and barrel bombs; as well as its demand for the immediate end to arbitrary detention, torture, kidnappings, abductions and forced disappearances of civilians and the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained, including journalists and humanitarian personnel; stresses the importance of implementation of such demands, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, in creating an environment conducive to the commencement of substantive political negotiations and in building confidence among the parties; and reiterates, in this regard, that the primary responsibility to protect its population lies with the Syrian authorities.
“The Security Council expresses its gravest concern that parts of Syria are under control of terrorist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF), condemns the ongoing and multiple terrorist acts by ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, condemns further the targeting of civilians based on their ethnicity, religion and/or confessional affiliations, expresses concern about the negative impact of terrorism, violent extremist ideology in support of terrorism, and action that destabilizes Syria and the region, with a devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian population, reaffirms its resolve to address all aspects of the threat, and calls on all parties to commit to putting an end to terrorist acts perpetrated by ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida.
“The Security Council commends the Special Envoy for his efforts in convening the Geneva consultations, from April to June 2015, with a broad range of stakeholders with respect to the crisis in Syria as part of the effort to operationalize the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
“The Security Council supports the approach set out by the Special Envoy that in order to work towards political negotiations and a political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué, four thematic areas need to be addressed through more focused consultations and discussions with the Syrian parties in four thematic working groups: safety and protection for all; political and legal issues; military, security and counterterrorism issues; and continuity of public services and reconstruction and development.
“The Security Council urges all parties to engage in good faith in the efforts of the Special Envoy, through his good offices, and to continue consultations and thematic discussions, and notes that these efforts can build on recent initiatives, including the meetings in Moscow, Cairo, Paris and Astana.
“The Security Council demands that all parties work urgently towards the comprehensive implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, aimed at bringing an end to all violence, violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and the launching of a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their future, including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.
“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s statement of 29 July 2015 that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and reiterates its endorsement of a political solution through implementation of the Geneva Communiqué.
“The Security Council stresses that rapid progress on a political solution should include full participation by all segments of Syrian society, including women, and represents the only sustainable way to resolve the situation in Syria peacefully.
“The Security Council emphasizes the need for robust international and regional assistance in support of the Special Envoy’s efforts.
“The Security Council expresses grave alarm that the Syrian crisis has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today, threatening peace and security in the region, and that at least 250,000 have been killed, including well over 10,000 children, and 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including over 4 million who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, and more than 12.2 million people in Syria require urgent humanitarian assistance. In this regard, the Security Council recalls its decision as set forth in resolution 2165 (2014) that all Syrian parties to the conflict shall enable the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria.
“The Security Council recalls the need for all parties to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance.
“The Security Council requests that the Secretary-General report back to the Security Council on the results of the next phase of consultations within 90 days.”
* The 7503rd Meeting was closed.