The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the Arab League on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, today renewed his call for a “speedy end” to the bloodshed and destruction in the Middle Eastern country, where tens of thousands of people have died in almost two years of violence.
“We are all very, very deeply aware of the immense suffering of the Syrian people which has gone for far too long and we all stressed the need for a speedy end to the bloodshed, to the destruction, and all forms of violence in Syria,” Mr. Brahimi said in Geneva.
He was addressing reporters following a second round of talks with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, and the United States Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns. The envoy has been engaged in meetings in the region and elsewhere, as part of his efforts to bring about a negotiated, political solution to end the Syrian conflict.
“In our view, there is no military solution for this conflict,” Mr. Brahimi said, adding that Mr. Bogdanov and Mr. Burns had agreed during their talks today on the necessity to reach a political solution based on the so-called Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012, which, among other items, calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.
“As you know a key element of that communiqué is the governing body which should exercise full executive powers during its existence, and we agree that full executive powers means all the powers of the State,” Mr. Brahimi said.
More than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and hundreds of thousands more have been displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in early 2011. Recent months have witnessed an escalation in the conflict, which is now in its 23rd month.
Mr. Brahimi said he would continue to engage with all Syrian parties, as well as other stakeholders in the region and internationally.
The Joint Special Representative is scheduled to brief the Security Council later this month on his consultations with the Syrian Government and representatives of the opposition. The 15-member body has so far been unable to reach agreement on a course of action in relation to the conflict in Syria.
“There is an absolute necessity for people to continue to work for a peaceful solution,” he said adding that “it is the wider international community, but especially the members of the Security Council that can really create the opening that is necessary to start effectively solving the problem.”
The Geneva communiqué was issued after a meeting in the Swiss city of the so-called Action Group for Syria and lays out key steps in a process to end the violence in the Middle Eastern country.
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.
On the humanitarian front, according to UN estimates, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country quadrupled between March 2012 and December 2012, from one million to four million. UN humanitarian aid planning estimates that up to a million Syrian refugees will need help during the first half of 2013, with most of these located in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.