New York

20 January 2014

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on developments related to Syria

During the brutal conflict of the past three years, the Syrian people have experienced horrendous suffering, humanitarian shortages and human rights abuses.  The Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 remains the internationally agreed framework for ending the crisis.  It is the basis on which the global community will gather on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland, and the foundation for the negotiations between the Syrian parties that will begin on Friday in Geneva.

Throughout the Syrian conflict, the Secretary-General has sought to do everything within his power for a political solution, which is the only path forward.  He has consistently maintained that regional partners with influence on the Syrian parties should do their part in promoting implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, including the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.  Most recently, he has tried to ensure that all those who can contribute to the success of a Syrian peace process be present in Montreux to express their solidarity and support for the Syrian people.

In that spirit, in a series of meetings and telephone conversations, senior Iranian officials assured the Secretary-General that Iran understood and supported the basis and goal of the Conference, including the Geneva Communiqué.  The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment.  He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communiqué.  Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation.

The Secretary-General looks forward to joining the initiating parties -- the Russian Federation and the United States -- as well as the other States and organizations that will attend this long-awaited and hugely important push for peace.  The Syrian parties, the region and the international community have an opportunity and a responsibility to end the violence and begin a transition towards a new Syria.