Saint Petersburg, Russia

06 September 2013

Remarks made by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, following his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Thank you very much, indeed, Mr. Secretary. I am extremely grateful to Minister Lavrov for inviting me to this very useful meeting with a number of foreign ministers of countries that are very concerned about the Syrian situation.  I think nobody ignores the fact that Syria is today in most serious danger on peace and security, not only for the poor Syrian people and the region of the Middle East, but also for the world.

So we have always been hoping and the Secretary-General has always been appealing to the international community, to the Security Council, to the P5, to pay great attention to this problem and really try to solve it.

On this issue of the alleged use of chemical weapons on the 21st of August, the United Nations is waiting for the work of the investigation team that was there and visited and collected a lot of material.  And that material is being analysed and when this work is finished - and it has to be completed according to scientific standards – as soon as it is done, the Secretary-General will communicate the results to the Security Council and the rest of the international community.  Then we will call it whatever the results of the investigation say it should be called.

The other thing is that Syria is in very, very serious trouble and we have been asked from time to time, what about use of force by members of the international community?  And that, we don’t - I think the Secretary-General or myself – we don’t express personal opinions.  We say what international law says. And international law says that no country is allowed to take the law into their hands; they have to go through the Security Council.

In this discussion today, I think we… I have taken this opportunity given to me by this initiative of Minister Lavrov to tell them that we have been working extremely hard with the Americans and the Russians as initiators after the meeting of the 7th of May here, in Moscow, not in Saint Petersburg, between Mr. Lavrov and [US] Secretary of State [John] Kerry.  Since then we have been working very hard to prepare for the meeting of Geneva II.

Geneva II is now is in danger because of the event of the 21st of August and what may follow as a consequence of that. I have drawn the attention of the participants of this meeting today to the possible consequences, and expressed hope once again.  I think the United Nations does not have any alternative but to continue to pay close attention to the situation in Syria.  So I expressed hope that we can continue to work and help the Syrians out.