The United Nations Security Council reiterated today its demand that all parties to the conflict in Syria must cease any attacks against civilians, as well as any indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas, and work towards a political solution to the years-long crisis.
“The only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and, in this regard, emphasizes the urgency for all parties to work diligently and constructively towards this goal,” says a statement read by the Council President for the month of August and Ambassador of Nigeria, Joy Ogwu.
Laying out key steps in a process to end the violence, the Geneva Communiqué, adopted in 2012 by the first international conference on the issue and later endorsed by the Security Council, calls, among others, 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 agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.
On July 29, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, set out to the Council a new approach. “In order to work towards political negotiations and a political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué, four thematic areas need to be addressed through more focused consultations and discussions with the Syrian parties in four thematic working groups: safety and protection for all; political and legal issues; military, security and counterterrorism issues; and continuity of public services and reconstruction and development,” reminded the presidential statement.
Supporting this approach, the Security Council today urged all parties to engage “in good faith” in Special Envoy’s efforts, and to continue consultations and thematic discussions, building up on recent meetings in Moscow, Cairo, Paris and Astana. It added that rapid progress on a political solution should include full participation by all segments of Syrian society, including women.
“The Security Council requests that the Secretary-General report back to [it] on the results of the next phase of consultations within 90 days.”
Also expressing its “gravest” concern that parts of Syria are under control of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Nusrah Front (ANF), the Security Council reaffirmed its resolve to address all aspects of the threat, calling on all parties to commit to putting an end to terrorist acts perpetrated by these groups.
The Syrian crisis, stated the Council, has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today, threatening peace and security in the region, and that at least 250,000 have been killed, including well over 10,000 children, and 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including over 4 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries, and more than 12.2 million people in Syria require urgent humanitarian assistance.