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Syria: UN-Arab League envoy calls on Security Council to agree on resolution to help end crisis

Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria.
Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria.

Syria: UN-Arab League envoy calls on Security Council to agree on resolution to help end crisis

The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria has encouraged the Security Council to turn an agreement reached in June outlining the steps for a peaceful transition in the Middle Eastern country into a resolution aimed at helping to end the ongoing crisis there.

Addressing reporters in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, today, the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, said that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis, and that the only possibility was a political solution, with a political process agreed on by everyone.

He also said that a communiqué, agreed on by a range of interested parties, “should be turned into a Security Council resolution and he encouraged Council members to continue talks to reach such a resolution,” a UN spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York.

The communiqué – issued in Geneva on 30 June following a meeting of the UN-backed Action Group on Syria – called for all parties to immediately re-commit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in a bid to end the conflict that began in March 2011 and has to date claimed more than 20,000 lives.

The 15-member Security Council has met several times on the situation in Syria, but has so far failed to reach agreement on collective and effective action to tackle the crisis.

As part of his efforts to halt the violence in Syria, Mr. Brahimi has had a range of meetings on the matter, both regional and elsewhere. Last night, in Cairo, he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil El-Araby.

In June, the Action Group had also agreed on a set of principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people, which includes the establishment of a transitional governing body that would exercise full executive powers and would be made up of members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups.

In addition, the communiqué had called on the parties to implement the six-point plan put forward earlier this year by the former Joint Special Envoy for the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan, which calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.

The Action Group comprised the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Arab League; the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – as well as the Turkish Foreign Minister; the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, in their respective roles related to the Arab League.

In addition to the tens of thousands who have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began, some 2.5 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid, and over 340,000 have crossed the border to Syria’s neighbouring countries, according to UN estimates.

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, will be in Lebanon and Jordan starting tomorrow and until the end of the week to meet Syrian refugees and see the increasing humanitarian needs first hand.

Ms. Cousin will meet senior government officials in both countries and visit WFP food distributions in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon and in the Za’tari refugee camp in Jordan, according to the agency.

WFP’s Regional Emergency Operation – aimed at covering the food needs of refugees in neighbouring countries – was launched in July and is now expanding to include the new wave of arrivals of refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Inside Syria, WFP has scaled up its operations and is reaching 1.5 million people monthly with food assistance.

The agency is one of several UN bodies assisting the ever-growing number of Syrians in need as a result of the crisis.