UN-Arab League envoy meets with top Russian and US foreign affairs officials on Syria

6 December 2012

The urgent need to initiate a political process to help resolve the ongoing conflict in Syria was agreed on in meeting of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, and the top foreign affairs officials of Russia and the United States.

“We have discussed… the situation in Syria and we have also talked a little bit about how we can work out, hopefully, a process that will get Syria back from the brink, to put together a peace process that will be based on Geneva [the Geneva communiqué],” Mr. Brahimi told reporters after his meeting with Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

“We haven’t taken any sensational decisions but I think we have agreed that the situation is bad and we have agreed that we must continue to work together to see how we can find creative ways of bringing this problem under control and hopefully starting to solve it,” he added.

The trio met in the Irish capital of Dublin, at Mr. Brahimi’s request, on the margins of the 19th Ministerial Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Geneva communiqué referred to by the Joint Special Representative lays out key steps in a process to end the violence in the Middle Eastern country, and was issued after a meeting in the Swiss city of the so-called Action Group for Syria in late June.

Syria has been wracked by violence, with at least 20,000 people, mostly civilians, killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 21 months ago. The violence has spawned more than 465,000 refugees, while more than 2.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN estimates.

Mr. Brahimi has previously noted that many of the building blocks for a political process to end the Syrian crisis are already contained in the Geneva communiqué. Amongst other items, the document called for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of important agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

The Action Group is made up of 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.

“I am discussing this situation with all the countries that I call that have influence and interest or both – and definitely this is the case for Russia and the United States,” Mr. Brahimi added in the media encounter. “We have discussed this and we continue to discuss this with other countries that were present in Geneva and also all the countries that, as I said, have interest and influence in Syria.”


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