New York

25 November 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on convening of the Geneva conference on Syria

The Secretary-General is pleased to announce that he will convene the Geneva conference on Syria in Geneva on Wednesday, January 22, thus bringing the Syrian Government and opposition to a negotiating table for the first time since the start of the Syrian conflict.

The Secretary-General expresses deep appreciation to the Initiating States, the Governments of the Russian Federation and the United States, as well as to other Member States and Joint Special Representative Brahimi for their hard work that has brought us to this point.

We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope. The Geneva conference is the vehicle for a peaceful transition that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of all the Syrian people for freedom and dignity, and which guarantees safety and protection to all communities in Syria.  Its goal is the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, including the establishment, based on mutual consent, of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities.

The Secretary-General expects that the Syrian representatives will come to Geneva with a clear understanding that this is the objective, and with a serious intention to end a war that has already left well over 100,000 dead, driven almost nine million from their homes, left countless missing and detained, sent tremors through the region and forced unacceptable burdens on Syria’s neighbors.

Noting the Security Council's endorsement of the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué in Resolution 2118 (2013), the Secretary-General will expect all regional and international partners to demonstrate their meaningful support for constructive negotiations. All must show vision and leadership. All can begin working now to take steps to help the Geneva conference succeed, including toward the cessation of violence, humanitarian access, release of detainees and return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced to their homes.  

The conflict in Syria has raged for too long. It would be unforgivable not to seize this opportunity to bring an end to the suffering and destruction it has caused.