New York

30 January 2018

Note to correspondents from Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy for Syria from Sochi

Let me thank the Russian Federation for inviting me, also on behalf also of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey, to attend this Congress which is meant to contribute to the Geneva process.

I am aware that there were intense discussions in this room today and you are proving it.  This is normal in a democratic environment, it is totally normal.

I have taken, on behalf of the UN and the Secretary-General, António Guterres, due note and careful note that in your Final Declaration today you have embraced 12 principles developed in the Geneva political process, which describe a vision of Syria that all Syrians should be able to share.

I also take note that those of you who are here agree that a constitutional committee is to be formed comprising the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation along with a wide-represented opposition delegation for drafting a constitutional reform, and that your agreement is intended as a contribution –thank you again- to the political settlement under UN auspices in accordance with Security Council resolution 2254.

You did work hard today. You concluded that a Constitutional Committee should at the very least comprise the Government, Opposition representatives in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women - and women. You have also concluded that care would be taken to ensure adequate representation of Syria’s ethnical and religious leaders - and we have seen many here today.

And you have concluded that final agreement is to be reached in the UN-led Geneva process on the mandate, terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure, and selection criteria for the composition of the Constitutional Committee.

I have heard your appeal that this assignment comes to the UN to get a Constitutional Committee established.

I have also noted that, in accordance with the final statement, which has been carefully worded, the Congress supported a list of representatives for the Constitutional Committee.

I shall consult widely – because that’s how we have to work - including among other Syrians, consistent with 2254.  

And I will be indicating as soon as possible – because Syria cannot wait-- how I intend to proceed on my mandated task under resolution 2254. Which means in practice setting in Geneva a schedule and process for constitution drafting. This way a Constitutional Committee can really and concretely be established and begin to work. That’s what you want, I know.

This will be a delicate job -that’s our job and your job too-  and a delicate exercise, and I will proceed with care as guided by the Secretary-General and resolution 2254.

As Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today on behalf of His Excellency, President Putin at the opening of this congress – and as all Security Council members have repeatedly indicated, the goal is clear: the full implementation of resolution 2254.

Let me recall that all Syrians seek a safe, calm and neutral environment for a constitutional drafting to unfold.  And last but not least, all Syrians need a sustained ceasefire, full humanitarian access and the release detainees, abductees and missing people.