Arab Countries


Joint press stakeout by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura
with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,
Vienna, 17 May 2016

[Opening remarks by the Special Envoy followed statements made by US Secretary of State Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov] 

Just to add to what you just heard. You probably will want to know where we are on the next Intra-Syrian talks. The issue is [that we are] still waiting for some type of concrete outcome of this meeting, but we cannot wait too long. We want to keep the momentum. The exact date I am not at the moment revealing it because it will depend also on other facts.

What we mean by that? We mean that of course we are having Ramadan starting soon. We need to keep that in perspective. And we need to bear in mind that credible Intra-Syrian talks will become credible when, as you heard, there is a credible development on the cessation of hostilities and a credible improvement on the humanitarian side. So on all three elements, we had discussions and it has been a useful discussion for me, for the UN mandate. 

On the cessation of hostilities side, you heard it, the main real difference is that what we used to have at 80 percent has come down to 50. But we need to bring it back [up] and there has been a strong effort and a common line on that. The main, and the very new element, apart from the willingness to address it, is the upgrading in Geneva of this operations center between Russian and American military experience. That’s been extremely useful and we will test it now. 

The second element is humanitarian aid. And on the humanitarian aid we are still not reaching those we want to reach. Out of 18 besieged locations – and by the way besieged areas is the closest to a medieval type of siege that we have seen in recent history – only [inaudible], not only, but 12 of them have been reached. So the concept and the idea has been approved that if we cannot reach them by land, as we have been doing together with the World Food Programme in Deir ez-Zor successfully, having a joint operation between the Russian Federation, US and other countries in dropping aid to 110,000 people. We need to start working hard in order to be able to look at the options within security limits. That’s what we all have to work on to do actually the same thing everywhere else where we cannot get by land, unless we are allowed to go by land. That goes from Darayya, which has been so close to Damascus that there is no reason to stop baby food, to Kafraya and Foua, to every other locations.

That is I think a novelty and a new element which came out from this meeting. We would never have thought about it just a month ago. Next point, and last, detainees and abductees because there are people who have been abducted by the opposition and detainees, which have been taken in large numbers by the government. We need and we will be addressing this aspect because the families are asking for it and the ISSG did take note of that with serious concern. So that is the next challenge.  Thank you.

Note to Correspondents:

Statement of the International Syria Support Group, Vienna, May 17, 2016

Meeting in Vienna on May 17, 2016, as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, The Netherlands, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States reaffirmed the ISSG’s determination to strengthen the Cessation of Hostilities, to ensure full and sustained humanitarian access in Syria, and to ensure progresstoward a peaceful political transition.

Cessation of Hostilities

Members, emphasizing the importance of a full cessation of hostilities to decreasing violence and saving lives, stressed the need to solidify the cessation in the face of serious threats, particularly during the past several weeks. The members welcomed the Joint Statement of May 9 by Ceasefire Task Force Co-Chairs, the Russian Federation and the United States, recommitting them to intensify efforts to ensure the cessation’s nationwide implementation. In this regard, they welcomed the ongoing work of the Task Force and other mechanisms to facilitate solidifying of the cessation such as the UN Operations Center and Russian-U.S. Coordination Cell in Geneva.

The ISSG Members urged full compliance of the parties to the terms of the cessation, including the ceasing of offensive operations, and undertook to use their influence with the parties to the cessation to obtain this compliance. Additionally, the ISSG called upon all parties to the cessation to refrain from disproportionate responses to provocations and to demonstrate restraint. If the commitments of the parties to the cessation are not implemented in good faith, the consequences could include the return of full-scale war, which all the Members of the ISSG agreed would be in no one’s interest. Where the co-chairs believe that a party to the cessation of hostilities has engaged in a pattern of persistent non-compliance, the Task Force could refer such behavior to the ISSG Ministers or those designated by the Ministers to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation and the protection it affords them. Moreover, the failure of the cessation of hostilities and/or of the granting of access to the delivery of humanitarian relief will increase international pressure ýon those failing to live up to these commitments.

Noting previous calls by the ISSG and the unanimously-adopted UNSCR 2254 of December 18, 2015, the ISSG reiterated its condemnation of the indiscriminate attacks by any party to the conflict. The ISSG expressed its serious concern about growing civilian casualties in recent weeks, making clear that the attacks on civilians, including attacks on medical facilities, by any party, is completely unacceptable. The ISSG took note of the March 2016 commitment by the Syrian government not to engage in indiscriminate use of force and urged the fulfillment of that commitment. The ISSG committed to intensifying its efforts to get the parties to stop any further indiscriminate use of force, and welcomed the Russian Federation’s commitment in the Joint Statement of May 9 to “work with the Syrian authorities to minimize aviation operations over areas predominantly inhabited by civilians or parties to the cessation, as well as the United States’ commitment to intensifying its support and assistance to regional allies to help them prevent the flow of fighters, weapons, or financial support to terrorist organizations across their borders.”

The ISSG, noting that Da’esh and the Nusra Front are designated by the UN Security Council as terrorist organizations, urged that the international community do all it can to prevent any material or financial support from reaching these groups and dissuade any party to the cessation from fighting in collaboration with them. The ISSG supports efforts by the co-chairs of the Ceasefire Task Force to develop a shared understanding of the threat posed, and delineation of the territory controlled, by Da’esh and the Nusra Front, and to consider ways to deal decisively with the threat posed by Da’esh and the Nusra Front to Syria and international security. The ISSG stressed that in taking action against these two groups, the parties should avoid any attacks on parties to the cessation and any attacks on civilians, in accordance with the commitments contained in the February 22 Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the United States.

The ISSG also pledged support for seeking to transform the cessation into a more comprehensive nationwide ceasefire in parallel with progress in negotiations for a political transition between the Syrian parties consistent with the Geneva Communique of June 2012, relevant UNSC Resolutions and ISSG decisions.

Ensuring Humanitarian Access

Since the ISSG’s last meeting, the UN, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has delivered assistance to 255,000 people in besieged areas and 473,000 people in hard-to-reach areas. However, the Syrian government has yet to permit access to many locations including a number of besieged communities in Rural Damascus, in contravention of the Munich Statement. UN assessment teams, life-saving assistance, including medical supplies and personnel to ensure their proper use, have been denied to populations in need. Although some urgent medical evacuations have taken place, many cases have been delayed or denied.

The members of the ISSG reaffirmed that sieges of civilian populations in Syria are a violation of International Humanitarian Law and called for the immediate lifting of all sieges. The ISSG committed to use its influence with all parties on the ground and in coordination with the United Nations to ensure immediate, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access throughout Syria, and allow humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, as defined by the UN and called for in UNSCR 2254. As called for in UNSCR 2258, border crossings that are necessary for humanitarian relief should remain open.

The ISSG insisted on concrete steps to enable the provision of urgent humanitarian deliveries to the following locations: Arbeen, Darraya, Douma, East Harasta, Mouadhimiyeh, Zabadin and Zamalka. Regular humanitarian deliveries must continue, according to the UN’s monthly plans, to all other besieged and hard to reach locations, including Fouah, Kefraya, Kafr Batna, Ein Terma, Hammura, Jisrein, Madaya, Zabadani, Yarmouk. Starting June 1, if the UN is denied humanitarian access to any of the designated besieged areas, the ISSG calls on the World Food Program to immediately carry out a program for air bridges and air drops for all areas in need. The ISSG pledges to support such a program, and also calls on all parties to the cessation of hostilities to provide a secure environment for that program. Air deliveries should also continue to Dayr al-Zour. The ISSG stressed that such access, as in other areas, must be continuous for as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.

The Members of the ISSG look forward to seeing the UN’s June plan for priority humanitarian deliveries and urge the government to approve it swiftly and in its entirety to make up for lost time. All ISSG members commit to work together immediately with the Syrian parties to ensure no delay in the granting of approval and completion of all UN requests for access consistent with UNSCR 2254, paragraph 12.

The ISSG reaffirmed that humanitarian access should not benefit any particular group over any other, but must be granted by all sides to all people in need, in full compliance with UNSCR 2254. Humanitarian aid is to be delivered based on need, for the number of beneficiaries specified by the UN, with the full package of food, medical, surgical, water, sanitation, non-food items, and any other urgently required goods as determined by the UN. The provision of mobile health services and evacuation of urgent medical cases should be facilitated by all sides based solely on urgency and need.

The ISSG asked the UN to report weekly, on behalf of the Task Force, on progress on the implementation of the plan referenced above, so that in any cases where access lags or approvals are lacking, relevant ISSG members could use their influence to press the requested party or parties to provide that approval and access. The ISSG further decided that in cases where humanitarian access is systematically denied, either fully or by the denial of delivery of certain categories of humanitarian aid or disagreements over the number of beneficiaries, the ISSG, with the agreement of the co-chairs, caninform the Security Council through the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

ISSG co-chairs and participants pledged to ensure that humanitarian aid convoys are used solely for humanitarian purposes. International humanitarian organizations, in particular the United Nations, will play the central role, as they engage the Syrian government, Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the opposition and local populations, in arranging the monitoring and sustained and uninterrupted distribution of aid. We encourage the international community and the UN to intensify efforts to meet the needs of internally displaced persons across Syria, without losing sight of the imperative of building conditions for the safe return of the refugees, including during the transition, in accordance with all norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of the host countries.

Advancing a Political Transition the norm

The ISSG reiterated the objective of meeting the target date established by UNSCR 2254 of August 1 for the parties to reach agreement on a framework for a genuine political transition, which would include a broad, inclusive, non-sectarian transitional governing body with full executive powers. In this regard, they welcomed the “Mediator’s Summary” issued after the third round of intra-Syrian talks on April 27 by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, and endorsed in particular the “Commonalities on Political Transition” noted within the report as well as the “Fundamental Issues For a Viable Transition” contained in Annex 1 of the report that may serve as the basis for the next round of the intra-Syrian negotiations. The ISSG notes that the parties have accepted a political transition will be overseen by a transitional governing body formed on the basis of mutual consent and vested with full executive powers, to ensure continuity of governmental institutions, in accordance with UNSCR 2254. On the basis of the Geneva Communique, the ISSG urged the parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy in addressing the fundamental issues for a transition, as set out by the Special Envoy. ISSG Members believe that the parties should return to negotiations on that basis at an appropriate time.

All ISSG members reaffirmed that political transition in Syria must be Syrian-owned and Syrian-led, and expressed their unequivocal and united commitment to facilitating the start of political transition in Syria by consistent with resolution 2254 (2015) and previous ISSG statements of October 30 and November 14, 2015, and February 11, 2016. The ISSG also requests UN Special Envoy for Syria de Mistura to facilitate agreements between the Syrian parties for the release of detainees. The ISSG called upon any party holding detainees to protect the health and safety of those in their custody.

Note to Correspondents

Office of the Special Envoy for Syria Media Statement

Geneva (27 April 2016) – The Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has just briefed the Security Council via video conference on the conclusion earlier today of this round of Intra-Syrian Talks convened on the basis of Security Council resolution 2254. These Talks ran from 13 to 27 April in Geneva, Switzerland.  Mr. de Mistura is also releasing a mediator´s summary outlining the process and substance of this round of Talks, which focused on an agenda of political transition and the establishment of an inclusive transitional governance.

“The Syrian parties have now accepted the need for a political transition that will be overseen by a new and inclusive transitional governance that replaces the present governance arrangements in Syria,” said Mr. de Mistura. He added however, that substantial gaps remain between the parties´ respective visions of the transition and that there is a need to go into further detail with them to ensure a credible and inclusive transition.   Mr. de Mistura also noted with alarm the increasing level of violence in Syria over the last two weeks and said that this and the continuing grave humanitarian situation on the ground, despite some modest but real progress, had impacted the conduct of this round of Talks.   Describing the nationwide cessation of hostilities as a precious achievement that has saved numerous Syrian lives and given credibility to the political track, Mr. de Mistura said that it must be urgently protected and reinforced.

The Special Envoy further emphasised the life or death importance of regular and sustained humanitarian access to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Syrians. In this respect, he stressed the importance of those with influence over the parties to press for safe and unhindered access by UN inter-agency convoys to all besieged and hard to reach areas, including but not limited to the towns of Douma, Darraya, Madamiyet Elsham and East Harasta.   For these reasons, and to take stock of the outcomes from this round of Intra-Syrian Talks, Mr. de Mistura recommended to the Security Council that a meeting of the International Syria Support Group should be held in the near future.

مكتب المبعوث الخاص لسوريا بيان لوسائل الإعلام

 جنيف (27 أبريل 2016) – عقد المبعوث الخاص لسوريا، ستيفان دي مستورا، مع مجلس الأمن عبر الفيديو اليوم، جلسة احاطة حول اختتام هذه الجولة من المحادثات السورية، بناءا على قرار مجلس الأمن رقم 2254 والتي عقدت في الفترة من 13-27 ابريل/نيسان في جنيف، سويسرا

 وسوف يقدم السيد دي مستورا ايضا ملخصا كوسيط يشمل مسار وجوهر هذه الجولة من المحادثات، التي ركزت على أجندة الانتقال السياسي وإقامة الحكم الانتقالي الشامل.  قال السيد دي مستورا ان “الاطراف السورية الآن تقبل ضرورة الانتقال السياسي التي سيشرف عليه الحكم الانتقالي الجديد والشامل الذي يحل محل ترتيبات الحكم الحالي في سوريا”، وأضاف أنه مع ذلك لا تزال هناك فجوات كبيرة بين رؤى الأطراف حول الانتقال السياسي وأن هناك حاجة للدخول في مزيد من التفاصيل معهم لضمان انتقال موثوق وشامل.  وأعرب السيد دي مستورا عن قلقه من تزايد مستوى العنف في سورية على مدى الأسبوعين الماضيين، وقال إن هذا العنف بالإضافة الى استمرار الأوضاع الإنسانية المتردية على الأرض، على الرغم من تحقيق تقدم محدود لكن حقيقي، كان لهما أثرهما على هذه الجولة من المحادثات

 وصف السيد دي مستورا وقف الأعمال العدائية باعتباره إنجازا ثميناً أنقذ العديد من الأرواح في سورية واضفي مصداقية على المسار السياسي، مشدداً على وجوب حمايته وتعزيزه. كما أكد المبعوث الخاص على الضرورة القصوى لوصول المساعدات الإنسانية بصورة منتظمة ومتواصلة لمئات الآلاف من السوريين المعرضين للخطر. وفي هذا الصدد، شدد على أهمية ان تضغط الأطراف التي لها تأثير من أجل الوصول الآمن وبدون عوائق لقوافل وكالات الأمم المتحدة لجميع المناطق المحاصرة والتي يصعب الوصول اليها، بما يشمل دون ان يقتصر على مدن دوما، دريا، معضمية الشام وحرستا الشرقية

 لهذه الأسباب، ولتقييم نتائج هذه الجولة من المحادثات السورية، أوصى السيد دي مستورا مجلس الأمن بضرورة عقد اجتماع للمجموعة الدولية لدعم سوريا في المستقبل القريب

Note to Correspondents:

Verbatim transcript of press stakeout by UN Special Envoy for Syria, Mr Staffan de Mistura Following the Humanitarian Taskforce meeting, Geneva , 21 April 2016

I was away yesterday for personal family reasons, so my apologies if I could not be with you yesterday.  But we all have a family too and sometimes we do have a coincidence of urgent  family issues to address and I had to do so, so my apologies.

Nothing political, no significance on that, no reasons except my own family.   We have – and I am representing Jan Egeland, who was connected on the phone with us- we have an analysis, which I think is quite important today because it is linked also on the whole feeling on how all this is moving, in other words, the cessation of hostilities, the humanitarian progress and the linkages to the progress on a political dialogue. By the way, tomorrow I will have an opportunity to meet all of you, as I promised, on the afternoon, in order to discuss the issue of the next steps, because as you remember I said I was going to review the situation and explain it to you tomorrow, so today no discussion on that. So let me address now the humanitarian taskforce.

According to the analysis that was done, there has been a modest, but real progress regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria, and I will elaborate on that.  Modest but real.  The figures are the ones that you are familiar with, I will just show them to you again, figures speak better than comments so I will read them to you but here they are.  So, so far, 560,000 people have been reached, between hard-to-reach areas and besieged areas.  Which means that about 220,000 people in the besieged areas have been so far reached,  which is more or less half the people of the besieged areas.  So how many besieged areas have we been so far able to reach? 12, out of 18.  So 6 are still not reached.  Some have been reached several times, to the point of being now sustained and reached.   Again about modest progress let me mention something that, for those who were evacuated, was not modest at all.  515 people were medically evacuated yesterday, simultaneously from Zabadani, Madaya, Kefraya and Foah.  It was done through the very active participation of  SARC with a lot of homework done by the UN.

There was only one precedent of a similar type of  equation by air, if you remember,   but this is the largest so far, after that one. Another modest but real progress is the fact that Khawla Mattar – a woman, I want to underline, because we should remember that when we have the privilege of having courageous  colleagues like here – led a convoy for the first time since 2012 to Darayya.  As you know Darayya has become a symbol of inaccessibility and you have heard it so many times.  That’s why we used the “ice-breaker” approach, in other words, one small fact-finding mission in order to open the opportunity for humanitarian convoy.  There were many different versions: there are no civilians, there are many civilians, there are people who are fighters, all that was actually one of the purposes of the mission to find out the real situation. Her report is certainly a wake-up call.  And there are children there are civilians and there is a need for food and medicine.  And we will, together with, hopefully everyone who has been helping us, in particularly I must say, and give credit to the Russian Federation, who had been certainly arguing very much in favor of this UN convoy to Darayya.  We will follow-up on this.  It is clear we cannot stop at simply a fact finding, there is a need to follow-up. Deir ez-Zor: we have now eight successful unprecedented, from that type of altitude, about 5,000-6000 meters, high altitude air dropping which has been reaching now to an estimated  65,000 people according to World Food Programme (WFP).  And we have learnt from WFP that they are planning now to double their own level of air dropping.

o do so they will be requiring more funds, but I hope there will be no problem because for an operation like that, which is quite unique and can be replicated elsewhere,  funds should not be a problem. Vaccinations:  The plan is still on for reaching, as you know , about 800,000 children in one area and 1.4 million in another.  I am starting on the 24th of April, God willing.   This is what we call modest but real progress.   Now the concerns: on the medical items, we are not yet there.  Items like dialysis equipment and some medical facilities have been allowed through.  But we have discovered again that vitamins, antibiotics, pain killers, surgical items, basic medical kits have not been allowed by the Ministry of Health in Syria the other day when they were supposed to go by convoy.  And this is not only worrisome but unacceptable according to international law. Even the worst enemies should allow this and by the way most of them, if not all, are Syrians among themselves, so these medical items have become an urgent priority of request from the humanitarian taskforce in particular to the government of Syria. That of course applies to all besieged areas including Kefraya and Foah, not only those besieged by the government.   The Humanitarian Taskforce also addressed problems caused by the armed opposition.

In particular the access by SARC, which we saw is quite an effective organization for instance in evacuation, to reach and start working again in Azaz and Eastern Aleppo. Detainees:  On the detainees issue, we have announced today to the Humanitarian Taskforce that I will nominating , you know we have a minimum of administrative bureaucracy here, will nominate a very effective person, full time as a technical senior person, working with my team, on detainees and abducted people, and that will be announced in the next few days. Bottom line there has been modest but real progress, not enough to make us comfortable at all. Bottom line, the humanitarian Taskforce is very much involved in pushing this to become more solid. And bottom line, if humanitarian aid increases, as should be, and the cessation of hostilities goes back into what we consider a hopeful mood, that will certainly help the political discussions.   I am ready for questions:

Q: Is there a time frame for when this medical evacuation operation will be completed? And will there be similar step regarding the detainees? SdeM:  Well first of all this operation has been according to some a breakthrough, certainly it has been the largest evacuation we could do on the medical side.  There will be more and we will be insisting on more and in several other places because the sick people and wounded people deserve to be treated in a different way, from both sides.  So we will pursue it. Regarding detainees, it is a different environment.  The detainees and the abducted people are many, particularly detainees, and it is a very delicate issue.  You know very well that there have been some rumors that when you actually mention the name of a detainee, then that detainee disappears, whereas a sick person will not disappear if you mention his or her name.  So that type of concern is something that we need to be aware of when we work, so we are using all possible methods, some more discrete, some more public.

Q: You spoke about 560,000 people you were able to reach 220,000 of them, what about the Syrian people who suffer unjust sanctions? SdeM:  Well, you see, there are three layers of priorities, you would be doing that obviously even in normal environment.  The first, people who need to be saved, those who are  in immediate threat of life, those who were starving, or are very wounded.  You do that with an ambulance.  And the same in a city.  The second group, is definitely (those) who are difficult to reach and those (who) are hard to reach.  But we all recognize that all Syrian people, all Syrian people, after five years of conflict, that’s why there has been so many refugees, will need a better improvement of their own aid and the aim of the UN is of course to reach all the people. But first things first, those who are in particular need, needs to be reached, but we are moving and therefore there is an argument for going beyond that.

Q. Sir, you just come out of the Humanitarian Taskforce and going into the Cessation of Hostilities Taskforce, and I understand you’ve met with the Russian delegation earlier, have you been able to raise the issue of Russian artillery moving into the Northern Syria, as has been reported today, do have concerns about that? Will you be bringing this up with the cessation of hostilities Taskforce meeting later today? SdeM. Well, I have unfortunately no comments to make on that because a) I didn’t get those information myself while we were at the Humanitarian taskforce meeting and b)because I am sure if that is an issue that is confirmed it will be raised at the cessation of hostilities taskforce which is exactly the one to discuss this.  Sorry but I do not have any comments on that. Tomorrow we will see each other and talk about the political discussion and the progress on the political transition, will have more to tell you.

Thank you.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presents his annual report on the work of the Organization at the opening of the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Council on the situation in the Middle East.

In just a few days, the Jewish people will celebrate one of Judaism’s most important holidays — Passover. I extend my best wishes to my Jewish friends and colleagues for a happy and peaceful holiday.

Allow me to begin with my visit to Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia three weeks ago with the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim.   Our trip sought to highlight the need to increase development assistance through innovative financing mechanisms for countries like Lebanon and Jordan that are disproportionately impacted by the conflict in Syria.

Last Friday, together with the Presidents of the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, I co-chaired a ministerial-level conference to garner the financial support for this initiative.
I am pleased to inform you that we had an encouraging response. Eight countries and the European Union generously pledged $1 billion for a concessional loan facility, $141 million in grants, and $500 million for a guarantee facility.

In addition, many other countries expressed support for this innovative initiative and their intention to provide financial support.

I hope donors will continue to respond to this effort to invest in peace and stability in this region. For over six months, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory have been gripped by a surge in violence, triggered by individual terrorist attacks by Palestinians. Some 30 Israelis and two hundred Palestinians have been killed, with most of the Palestinians killed while reportedly carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks.

I condemn all such attacks unreservedly. There can never be any justification for stabbings, vehicle attacks, shootings, incitements to violence, or the glorification of killers.
I welcome the joint Palestinian-Israeli efforts that have contributed to a reduction of tensions in recent weeks. However, these latest killings have only deepened the divisiveness, hatred and grief.

I also welcome ongoing Israeli-Palestinian security discussions on Area A.  I urge all sides to recognise the risks of failing to reach a lasting understanding on this pressing matter.
I acknowledge the recent public statements by President Abbas, rejecting violence and terror and firmly supporting continued security coordination with Israel.

President Abbas and I discussed the importance of these and other issues in Amman on 27 March.  I encourage more such statements, backed by concrete actions.
Israelis and Palestinians need their leaders to elevate public discourse above mutual accusations, and to engage in a constructive dialogue that can rebuild the trust that has all but evaporated.

The Middle East Quartet is moving forward on a report that will review the situation on the ground, the threats to a two-state solution, and provide recommendations on how to advance peace.  The report is intended to help inform international discussions to advance the two-state solution: a sovereign and independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel.   Tragically, this solution seems more distant than it has for many decades. A twenty-year-old Palestinian living under occupation has seen no political progress at all during his or her lifetime.

Impatience and despair at that fact is one of the root causes of the violence that blights Israeli and Palestinian communities, prevents economic development and growth, and denies the human potential of millions of people.

It is incumbent on all of us to do everything in our power to secure lasting peace.
Our collective efforts face dynamics in Israel and Palestine that call into question the willingness of the parties to overcome the hurdles to peace.

Israel continues to demolish Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank at an alarming rate. The total number of demolitions in 2015 was exceeded in early April this year. More than 840 people have been displaced.

Most of the structures concerned are deemed “illegal” by Israel, because they were built without permits.  Yet Israel makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to acquire permits.
These acts raise concerns that Israel intends to implement over 11,000 outstanding demolition orders in Area C of the West Bank.

I am also concerned by the continued punitive demolitions of homes belonging to families of alleged Palestinian perpetrators of attacks against Israelis.

Punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment, which is prohibited under international law. They are unproven as a deterrent; and they fuel tensions by exacerbating feelings of injustice and hatred.

Meanwhile, settlement plans and retroactive legalizations continue to advance in almost untraceable steps through the complicated planning process.

These steps, together with last month’s declaration of “state land” – the first in over 18 months – signal that Israel’s strategic settlement enterprise continues to expand on land intended for a future Palestinian state. I once again reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law and undermine the two-state solution.

The creation of new facts on the ground through demolitions and settlement building raises questions about whether Israel’s ultimate goal is, in fact, to drive Palestinians out of certain parts of the West Bank, thereby undermining any prospect of transition to a viable Palestinian state.   On the Palestinian political front, I regret the continued failure of intra-Palestinian discussions to achieve genuine unity on the basis of non-violence, democracy and the PLO principles.

I reiterate my call on Palestinian factions to demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation, which is integral to reaching the goal of Palestinian statehood and to securing a just and lasting resolution of the conflict. It is imperative for all factions to ensure that both Gaza and the West Bank are returned to the control of a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian authority.
I am extremely concerned by today’s announcement on the uncovering of a tunnel crossing from Gaza into Israel – the first such discovery since the 2014 Gaza conflict. I strongly condemn the construction of attack tunnels as dangerous and provocative moves that not only threaten the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, but also undermine efforts to rebuild Gaza. Further, three rockets were fired from Gaza on 14 April towards Israel, all of which landed short of Israel. No injuries were reported.

I call upon all parties to refrain from any actions that could lead to renewed conflict in Gaza.
The Palestinian Government has laid out an ambitious $3.8 billion agenda for stabilizing Gaza, repairing damage from the 2014 conflict, and getting a recovery underway.
Economic development and rebuilding critical electricity and water infrastructure are essential.  On 8 April, the Gaza Power Plant shut down, meaning that residents of Gaza are now supplied with electricity for just four to six hours per day.

More than a year and a half after the conflict in Gaza, these conditions are intolerable.  I strongly encourage all Member States to fulfil their commitments to support the reconstruction and development of Gaza.

More positively, on 3 April, Israel expanded the Gaza fishing zone from six miles to nine nautical miles. I welcome this development and encourage Israel to expedite further easing measures to support the long-suffering people of Gaza.

Turning briefly to Lebanon, I had the opportunity to address political and security issue with Lebanese leaders in Beirut on 24 and 25 March, consistent with the concerns of this Council.

These include:
The importance of preserving Lebanon’s model of pluralism and coexistence from regional tensions; The urgency of electing a President without further delay;
The need for all parties to work with Prime Minister Tammam Salam to enable the Government to function effectively and to continue to engage in political dialogue;
The importance of sustained international support for the Lebanese Armed Forces; And the expectation that both Lebanon and Israel work to consolidate stability along the Blue Line and advance the implementation of resolution 1701.
I also discussed the importance of actively supporting the work of UNRWA, particularly in light of the recent build-up of tensions in Palestinian camps, including a car bomb on 12 April which killed a camp official near Ein el Hilweh.
Turning to the Golan, I note the statements made yesterday by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. This is a longstanding issue that all parties have a responsibility to help resolve. I remind Israel of its obligation to implement Security Council Resolutions 242 and 497 in all of their parts.

The path out of the current political deadlock requires commitment, compromise, mutual respect and leadership on both sides.
It also requires the acceptance – demonstrated by deeds as well as words – that the two-state solution is the only road to peace that meets the national aspirations of both peoples:
Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

Thank you.


Transcript of a press encounter with Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Jan Egeland, Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, and Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for the Syrian Arab Republic


Geneva, Switzerland, 9 March 2016

SdeM: Good morning.  First of all, we had a meeting (of the Humanitarian Access Task Force), and I think it was a very useful meeting.  You will be hearing more details, but you will see that what has been so far achieved is quite an achievement: 238,485 people have been reached, and more than 536 different trucks have reached… Last year, zero.  We’ll go into that.

Now, regarding the actual talks.  The talks are, as you know… officially today is the beginning of the arrivals.  We are having proximity talks, because we’re having a proxy war.  And the proximity talks mean we are staggering meetings, rooms, and dates.

For instance, today we’re having the first arrivals of our own people.  We’re having a whole surge of UN colleagues who are actually helping us to make sure that we are going to be able to handle four things simultaneously.  One: the proximity talks.  Two: two taskforces, one humanitarian, and one on the cessation of hostilities, ceasefire.  And three, as you know very well, a never-seen-before operations centre, where we have Russians, Americans and the UN, monitoring, observing, and trying to check and keep track of the ceasefire.  All that requires some arrivals and some movements.

The agenda, the talks are therefore being staggered in terms of arrivals.  We have people coming tomorrow, we have people coming on Sunday, there will be anyway on Saturday quite a few too, but then we plan to start having informal talks already in hotels or here, with whoever is arriving.

But the substantive, deeper part of it, after the first preparation, will be on Monday, God willing, the 14th.  They will last not beyond the 24th.  We believe that having a timetable, and a time limit is healthy for everyone.  We don’t think that we can go on [with] procedural discussions for two weeks hoping to get into substance.  We go seriously into substance as soon as we can.  There will be also the fact that there will be then a period of recess a few days, a week perhaps, ten days – in order to give the time for delegations to then return, and for us to recap where we are on it, and then resume them, as we did in the past.

Now, the talks, as you know, were interrupted by myself, because there were various reasons that we felt justified it, and the proof is that Munich was a good response to the need of resuming the talks, by focusing on two important aspects: the humanitarian, and the ceasefire.  That is beginning to be addressed.  And at the same time, let me be very clear.  When we start having the talks on Monday, God willing, the focus will be on substance, on the agendas; in other words on new governance, constitution, and elections, the future elections in 18 months’ time, both presidential and parliamentarian.

The issue about the ceasefire and the humanitarian [issue], in theory and, we hope, in practice, should not be addressed by the talks, because we do have the two taskforces, who are going to be simultaneously addressing those.  And therefore, taking away the alibi, in a way, of those who may want only to talk about the ceasefire, and forgetting that at the end of the day, the ceasefire and humanitarian aid alone are not a solution.  The solution is a political transition in Syria, facilitated, made credible to the Syrian people by incremental humanitarian assistance, and an incremental, more or less sustainable, we hope as much as possible, and quite unbelievable after five years of war, cessation of hostilities or reduction of hostilities.

That’s basically the plan.  So, I will take two questions, but then I will leave the floor to both of you, because you’re the ones who have the opportunity of elaborating on what we did this morning.

Q: Mr. Kerry is going to meet different European ministers in Paris on Sunday.  Are you going to attend this meeting?

SdeM: No, I am not.  I think John Kerry is doing extremely supportive work to what we have been trying to do.  It’s not a surprise that between him and Sergey Lavrov we were able to have the Munich understanding.  My job is to actually try to prepare well the talks.

Q: There is a delay to the start of the substantive talks, you have explained that.  Is there a danger of further delays?

SdeM: Well, you see, the good thing about proximity talks is that I am in a position of staggering the talks, the dates, the days, the meeting rooms, based on where and how they will be most fruitful.  And from that point of view, in fact, any type of delay that I may decide to take will be based on how to make them more successful. But we are aiming for the 14th.

Q: We are very close to the end of two weeks of the cessation of hostilities.  Do you confirm now that there is an extension for the cessation of hostilities for two more weeks?

SdeM: Well, let me really be very frank on that.  I don’t know where this two weeks issue came up from an international point of view.  I heard that some sides had indicated two weeks.  From the UN point of view, and the Geneva meetings we have been having in the taskforce, and certainly the Munich understanding, there was an open-ended concept regarding the cessation of hostilities.  Of course, the first days are always the most critical.  And we’re reaching, God willing, two weeks, with grosso modo, by and large, quite a sustained reduction of violence.  Incidents are taking place, no question, and there are – I’m expecting even worse incidents to take place, probably caused by spoilers.  The secret will be whether the sides will be in a position – and so far, touching wood, it has been the case – to contain them, make them not becoming an unravelling of what has been, after five years, quite a change.  So far insufficient, but quite a change for the life of every Syrian.  And you will be able, Yacoub, coming from Damascus yesterday, to say so.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I leave it to my very good colleagues, and we will be in touch on all the other aspects.  Thank you very much.

JE: Less than a month ago, the humanitarian taskforce was given the objective from the International Support Group for Syria, to open access to 18 besieged areas and even much bigger, hard-to-reach areas.  In the four weeks since then, we have had the following progress.  Ten areas have been reached by the UN and partners, several of them with multiple convoys.  UNRWA has had progress in reaching people from Yarmouk, and the World Food Programme is systematically working to overcome all of the obstacles to be able to do airdrops to Deir ez-Zor.  Through this, we have been or will be able to reach a clear majority of besieged areas, and, we believe, a clear majority of people in besieged areas soon.

The bad news is that we still have not reached six important besieged areas, including Darayya and Duma.  That is the task that was given to members of the task force, homework as we call it in the taskforce.  We need to have permits, we need to have security guarantees to be able to go also to those places, covering all of the 18 besieged areas.

We have also made progress on procedures.  Procedures are too cumbersome, it takes too long a time, we spend too much time on asking for permission to go to places we’re not then able to go.  April, next month, will be the month of new procedures.  We believe by then, we will have a more rational, speedy, easier system that will enable us to overcome this very black stain on the conscience of Syria and of the international community, namely that people starve in besieged areas and hard-to-reach areas, while humanitarian workers have supplies that can reach them, and are prevented from reaching women, children, and other civilians in great need.

We also have this tremendous plan now to go to the other areas through the cessation of hostilities period, and Yacoub El Hillo, the humanitarian coordinator, will talk about that.

YEH: Thank you, Jan.  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I bring you greetings from Syria, from Damascus, where the cessation of hostilities [is] now reaching two weeks, ruptured with violations and with incidents, but still holding.  And it’s making direct impact on the lives of millions of Syrians, inside the country.  So let’s keep the focus on that, but also let’s work together to ensure that it is not only extended for two weeks or two months, but for it to stay, and to stick.

Building on what Jan has said, looking at the horizon between now and the end of April, we are aiming to reach 870,000 people in hard-to-reach areas, but also the specific locations in besieged areas that we have so far not been able to reach: Duma, Zamalka, Arbin, East Harasta (this is in East Ghouta), and also Deir ez-Zor.  But we are working on all of this, and the hope is that in the next few days, with the help of members of the taskforce, we will be able to complete deliveries and reach the thousands of people trapped in these places.

But beyond that, we have over 600,000 people to reach, between now and the end of April, that is in northern rural Homs, that is Rastan, Talbiseh, Al Houla, Tarmala, this is in northern rural Homs, but also in northern western rural Aleppo, as well as the eastern part of Aleppo.  In the east part of Aleppo, we have no less than 300,000 people, who are increasingly becoming under what is a partial siege, although it is not totally besieged, in addition to thousands of people in Afrin, in Urem and in Beg Urem.  This is the plan, and the horizon.

What we are talking about is still thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds of thousands of people.  But let’s not forget, and this is my last point, since the beginning of this crisis, the United Nations and our partners have been hard at work, delivering every day to millions of Syrians in the country, and that continues.

So, the momentum that has come as a result of the outcome of Munich, the work of the taskforce, is creating additional space for us to do more and to do better.  Particularly with regards to people in hard-to-reach areas and besieged areas, but we should not really be focusing only on that.

Let’s remember there is a bigger picture where millions of people are reached every month with food, with medical supplies, with winter support, with shelter support, with education support, water and sanitation, and protection, and so on, and so forth.  Thank you very much.

Q: You said UN reached ten out of eighteen besieged towns in Syria.  What is stopping you to reach the eight besieged town?  Are you waiting for a green light from the Syrian regime?

JE: We have so far reached, as I said, ten areas, four of those in the last week alone, in rural Damascus Kafer Batna area.  Deir ez-Zor will be reached by airdrops; UNRWA is reaching more and more people in Yarmouk.  The six remaining places require government permission, which we have sorted.  The UN team and partners like SARC are ready to go within seventy-two hours.  We also need to have the security guaranties from the armed opposition groups in these areas.  We are working on both fronts with members of the task forces.

Q: What can you tell us about potential prisoners’ releases?  Is it likely to happen before the talks start?

JE: I’m afraid we have to say that it is not on the humanitarian access task force.  I know it’s been evocated by others; you would have to ask Staffan de Mistura and his team.

Q: inaudible

YEH: Non-governmental organizations like my own and those in the neighbouring countries are doing cross border work to complement what the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is doing.  We work with three hundred partners, NGOs both Syrians and International, partners such as Norwegian Refugee Council, but we also work with Syrian Arab Red Crescent.  This partner is present in all parts of the country, when we go to these places, easy or hard to reach areas, we work in partnership with this powerful network of humanitarian actors.

In the case of besieged areas, there are also local communities and groups facilitating, supporting and delivering humanitarian assistance once we are able to reach the people there. So we work with a big and powerful mix of partners, it is not just the UN, it is also our humanitarian partners.

Q: Russia has sent you a list of besieged areas in need of an emergency access.  Have you taken into account this list and how many are there?

JE: We have noted all the activities that Russia is doing, including the Russian military.  We would take that into account as we plan our humanitarian work weather that is UN or the Red Crescent or NGO but we would not be doing that in direct contact with any country that are or have been involved in the conflict.  But indeed we have noted the humanitarian program.

I would say that Russia has helped a lot in facilitating humanitarian access over the last weeks.  So has the other co-chair, the United States.  It’s been remarkable to see how the two co-chairs have worked ceaselessly to enable humanitarian access, so have other members of this task force.  I wish we had it in 2015 when we did not make much progress in the besieged areas, I’m glad we have it now.  Munich was the start of a new era, of actually member states helping us much more to get humanitarian access.

Q: Which side is military besieging the remaining six areas?

JE: I would say that within the seven areas that we have not reached, six are besieged by the Syrian government and one by Islamic State.  The two areas reached by armed opposition groups in the north of Idlib are part of the four towns agreement, and we have been able to service those, as we have been able to service Madaya and Madamiya.  So the six remaining, plus Deir ez-Zor, are besieged by the government and Islamic State.

Q: (In Arabic, interpreted in English): The first part of the question was about the modalities on how humanitarian aid has been delivered to Deir ez-Zor.  The second part was about the nature of the meetings that are taking place in Hemeimeen airbase.

YEH: (In Arabic, interpreted in English): For more than a year, the UN and partners were unable to deliver humanitarian assistance to Deir ez-Zor, due to the sieged imposed by ISIS on more than 200,000 civilians.  There were several attempts in the past to really reach this areas with various humanitarian assistance namely vaccinations, however without being sufficient.

This is why the UN team has now been trying to airdrop assistance to Deir ez-Zor, which was tested on February 24.  There were many lessons learned for the future.  We will resume in the next few days once practical and technical arrangements are in place, but the quest is to continue insuring we reach the people inside Deir ez-Zor with aid.

Reconciliation meetings taking place in Hemeimeen air base and in any other part of Syria are welcome.  They enhance and support the efforts done by Staffan de Mistura and his team towards building peace in Syria.

Office of the Special Envoy for Syria
Press Release

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, met today with Syrian political figures associated with the Moscow and Cairo processes, as referenced in the Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), who had received individual invites.

He met separately with the Women’s Advisory Board and civil society representatives as part of his continued consultations with the widest spectrum of Syrian society in order to bring an end to five years of devastating conflict.

Mr. de Mistura also briefed the U.N. Security Council in New York by video link on recent developments related to the temporary recess and plans for early resumption of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

Geneva, 5 February 2016


بيان منسوب إلى المتحدثة باسم المبعوث الخاص لسوريا
السيدة خولة مطر

التقى اليوم المبعوث الخاص للأمم المتحدة إلى سوريا، السيد ستيفان دي مستورا مع شخصيات سياسية سورية مرتبطة بالمسارات التي عقدت في كل من موسكو والقاهرة، المشار اليها في قرار مجلس الأمن رقم 2254، والذين ارسلت اليهم دعوات شخصية

كما التقى السيد دي مستورا ايضا بشكل منفصل بالمجلس الاستشاري للمرأة وممثلي المجتمع المدني في إطار جهوده المستمرة للتشاور مع أوسع قاعدة من المجتمع السوري من أجل وضع حد لخمس سنوات من الصراع المدمر

وقام المبعوث الخاص ايضا بتقديم إفادة لمجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة بنيويورك عبر الفيديو حول اخر التطورات الأخيرة المتعلقة بالتوقف المؤقت وخطط الاستئناف المبكر للمحادثات السورية بجنيف

جنيف – 5 فبراير 2016

Press Stakeout of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura
3 February 2016

First of all let me say that my obligation to open these talks on behalf of the Secretary-General in January came from a resolution, a Security Council resolution, well they instructed me to start the talks. We were ready; the agenda has been also ready 2254. I made it clear at the Security Council, on behalf of the Secretary-General and in public speeches that the talks will not be meaningful, will not be meaningful, unless they will also be accompanied by a tangible benefit for the Syrian people. We have said it many times. This is why I have been asking and I have been asking even before issuing the invitations that there is an immediate implementation of humanitarian initiative, even before the talks start. I was told and reassured that they were going to take place during the talks.

Well, I have been hearing from the government that they had some procedural issues before talking about humanitarian side. I have been hearing from the opposition that they are urgently feeling the need for the Syrian people.

Based on that, based on that, I concluded frankly that after the first week of preparatory talks, and they are talks, and the talks have started, you can call them as you want, but they were talks, but there is more work, more work, to be done. Not only by us, we have done our part, but by the stakeholders, who have been telling us, go and start this initiative, while in fact, they the Security Council and the ISSG, are now expected to address some of the issues pending, one in particular, what are these talks going to make as a difference to the Syrian people.

From the first day I have indicated that I am not prepared to hold talks for the sake of talks and the Secretary-General has said the same. The UN cannot allow simple procedural matters to actually become more important than actually the results of humanitarian situation of the Syrian people who have been waiting for us to deliver this time, not a conference, but something concrete for them. I therefore, have taken this decision to bring a temporary pause, temporary pause, this is not end and it is not the failure of the talks – why, they came and they stayed, not only but both sides insisted on the fact that they are interested in having the political process started. I already fixed a date for the next talks, 25th of February, for I find that this stage is very important to give an opportunity to those who have been insisting that the talks take place that they also address the issues which have been pending and unresolved, those who are asking and will be asking for the ISSG to convene as soon as possible, hopefully already in Munich, the Security Council to meet and we convene in Geneva, again, on the 25th of February.

The whole matter is, again, are we here to have another Geneva conference without any result for the Syrian people, or are we serious about what we have been saying, that while we are having a conference, talking about the future, and political future of Syria, and the new constitution, and the new elections, the Syrian people will see and expect me and they expect all of us to produce something while we are talking. Since I am not seeing that, I have to be honest and say with myself, it is time now to have a pause only a pause and give time for this to happen.

Thank you very much.

Q. Al Jazeera: You’ve said nothing about the military escalation by the Syrian government and the Russian bombardment, haven’t they basically bombed your talks?

SdM: I’m not referring to military activities, I’m saying to an impossibility through military activities and other reasons for the fact that the humanitarian signals which are meant to be sent to the Syrian people – for instance lifting of the sieges, for instance the access for all the places which are at the moment unreachable – should be seen.

Q. Xinhua: What are your feelings, are you disappointed, are you frustrated, what are you going to do know?

SdM: First of all about my feelings. Well, I spoke with the Secretary-General and I’m going probably tomorrow to London to explain and to make sure that the Conference which is taking place in London will realise that what they are doing is very important because if there is a preparation for the day after and for the refugees and for the Syrian people, it will be an additional incentive for actually having the reconvening of the talks on the 25th as successful. I’m not frustrated, I’m not disappointed, I have been long enough with the UN to know that when you have a five-years war and have had so many difficult moments, you have to be determined but also realistic and when you see things going in a certain direction, you take – we are the convener, we manage the conference, we decide when the conference producing results or not and if they don’t produce results we need to go deeper, that’s what we are doing. Thank you.

Office of the Special Envoy for Syria
Press Release

Geneva (3 February 2016)- The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, has announced a recess in intra-Syrian talks as of the end of Friday, 5 February. The talks are to resume in Geneva no later than 25 February, and possibly much earlier. In the interim period, the Special Envoy shall undertake intense consultations with concerned stakeholders, including women and civil society.

During the course of this week’s preparatory phase it was made clear to all parties that the agenda is Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). However, the Special Envoy expected to see progress on the implementation of a number of possible humanitarian initiatives, both within the talks and on the ground. Substantive discussions on these matters in Geneva were held up by unresolved procedural issues.

“In recessing the talks the United Nations make it clear that the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people remains our top priority, and the Secretary-General has reiterated this very important point on several occasions,” the Special Envoy said. “The United Nations is not prepared to hold talks for the sake of talks. Such talks can only be meaningful if they also deliver immediate tangible benefits to the Syrian people,” Mr. de Mistura emphasized.

“I sense a strong commitment on the part of many of our international partners to ensure that these humanitarian obligations are implemented. I shall call on the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to address these and other matters, including the call for a national wide ceasefire to be launched in parallel to talks, in the upcoming ISSG meeting next week,” he added.

Mr. de Mistura will leave tomorrow to attend the London conference.


مكتب المبعوث الخاص لسوريا
بيان صحفي

جنيف (3 فبراير 2016) – أعلن المبعوث الخاص للأمم المتحدة لسورية، السيد ستيفان دي مستورا، انتهاء المرحلة الأولى من المحادثات التحضيرية يوم الجمعة 5 فبراير . وسوف تستأنف المحادثات في جنيف بحد اقصى، يوم 25 فبراير مع احتمال ان تبدأ قبل هذا التاريخ. وفي خلال هذه الفترة سيقوم المبعوث الخاص بمشاورات مكثفة مع جميع الأطراف المعنية، بما في ذلك مع ممثلي النساء والمجتمع المدني

وخلال انعقاد المرحلة التحضيرية للمحادثات هذا الأسبوع أصبح واضحا لجميع الأطراف ان قرار مجلس الأمن رقم 2254 لعام 2015 يعتبر هو برنامج عمل المحادثات. ولكن توقع المبعوث الخاص ان يرى بعض التقدم في تنفيذ عدد من التدابير الإنسانية، من خلال المحادثات وعلى الأرض في سوريا. وأجريت مناقشات موضوعية بشأن هذه المسائل في جنيف ولم تحل بسبب بعض المسائل الإجرائية

بإيقاف المحادثات تثبت الأمم المتحدة ان تخفيف معاناة الشعب السوري لا تزال من أولوياتها ، وكما أكد الأمين العام هذه النقطة الهامة جدا في عدة مناسبات، وقال المبعوث الخاص، مؤكدا ان الأمم المتحدة ليست مستعدة لإجراء محادثات فقط من أجل المحادثات. ولكن هذه المحادثات تصبح ذات معنى فقط حينما ينتج عنها فوائد فورية ملموسة للشعب السوري

انني ارى التزاما قويا من الشركاء الدوليين لضمان تنفيذ هذه الواجبات الإنسانية. وسوف اطالب المجموعة الدولية لمساندة سوريا، في اجتماعها الأسبوع المقبل، بمناقشة هذه الموضوعات ، بما في ذلك الدعوة لوقف إطلاق نار شامل على مستوى البلاد، ينطلق بشكل موازي بالتزامن مع انعقاد المحادثات السورية

ويغادر السيد دي مستورا غدا لحضور مؤتمر لندن


Press Stakeout of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura
1 February 2016

SdM: Good evening, you probably heard, and I am sure you did, the comments made by the spokesperson for the HNC. We had a two-hours meeting with the HNC. As far as we are concerned their arrival to the Palais des Nations and initiating the discussion with us is the official beginning of the Geneva talks.

Of course we do respect very much and we heard very clearly their very clear position. They feel, and they told you, that there is a priority from their point of you and probably you must have heard it , of having successful talks, Intra-Syrian talks in order to reach what has been communicated in the Geneva Communiqué and the resolution 2254.

At the same time they are insisting, and they are not the only ones, that the Syrian people, while we are having a Syrian talks on the future of the political solution, they deserve to hear and see facts on the ground, in reduction of the violence, in the fact of the detainees, in the fact of the besieged areas.

We feel that they have a very strong point, because this is the voice of the Syrian people asking for that. When I meet the Syrian people they tell me don’t just have a conference, have also something that we can see and touch while you are meeting in Geneva.

We are going to meet tomorrow morning with the government. And I am planning to invite again tomorrow afternoon the HNC in order to go deeper into the issues they raised and their own concerns. Let me simply say one thing. There was in Vienna a very special momentum but there were also some indications that gave us, me and especially the Secretary-General the feeling that this exercise of Geneva Intra-Syrian talks is going to be different from the previous ones, one because we are in 2016, two because the people have been suffering enough and three that they need to see something concrete apart from long painful difficult negotiation.

And there was one point that came out in Vienna and I will like to indicate it clearly, there was a message in the Vienna meetings, that when the Geneva talks will actually start, in parallel there should be a serious discussion about a ceasefire. That is not something that I can discuss, this is something to be discussed at a level of the ISSG, those countries involved in saying that. So here comes the challenge, we are starting officially the Geneva talks we are listening with attention to the concerns of the HNC and we are going tomorrow to discuss and listen to the concerns of the government. The discussions are starting but meanwhile the challenge now is let’s also have the capacity of discussing this different levels, time to discuss about a ceasefire.

Tomorrow we will have another day, we will go deeper and following that I will be able to update you. Meanwhile, the talks have started.

Q. Syrian News: You discussed guarantees requested by the Syrians, and they do not just need negotiations but facts on the ground, what is your role to prove to the Syrians that these talks are effective in lifting the European sanction imposed on the Syrian people?

SdM: Well, that is exactly why we need these talks which are taking place among Syrians but in fact we all know that the whole international community is connected to it. There are the Security Council resolution and there is the ISSG, which I am expecting the sponsors of it to actually be convened very soon in order to make sure that what we are doing here has the international support and not simply leaving the Syrians alone in it.

Q. Egypt News Agency: Mr de Mistura, after what you have said are you going to inform the Security Council to ask them to start discussing the ceasefire in Syria?

SdeM: Thank you, that is a very pertinent question. What I’m simply saying is reminding the ISSG members of what they actually indicated that when the actual talks would start they themselves will start helping in ensuring that there would be a discussion about an overall ceasefire in the Syrian conflict. If that takes place that would be the strongest message for all Syrian people wherever they are about changes because ceasefire, that affects the areas that have been besieged; affects accessibility for the food and so on.

Q. NYT: What are your immediate short-term objectives in these first round of talks and specifically can you say if you’ve received a list of women and children who are detained and whether there’s any possibility of making some progress on that?

SdeM: First of all, the first immediate objective is to make sure that the talks continue and that everyone is on board. It’s crucial that no one should be feeling excluded and that everyone should be concretely, constructively but also effectively be part of it. As you know very much, the tendency is when people disagree they then leave the room. We need everyone to continue to be in the room in order to make sure that we have concrete discussions. Second, you had a second point, which is a very important one. I’ve not yet received that list. I asked for it and I want it because I think that a list of the names, particularly of women and children detained should be the first among the signals that in fact there is something different happening. Once I get it I will certainly use it in our discussions regarding signals to the Syrian people.

Q. Reuters: Could I ask you how much progress do you think you can make in the near term on the humanitarian issues – specifically on the three things that the opposition are asking for? And when you said no one is excluded, I have to ask: what about the Kurds?

SdeM: Regarding the expectations on the humanitarian side, that is exactly what would be the subject not only between us and the different groups which we are going to meet but also frankly what is going to be the actual involvement and pressure and commitment by those countries who have an influence on it. What we are doing is we are hearing the voice of the Syrian people: we are hearing it and we are sharing it. The Syrian people want everyone who has got a capacity or influence in this conflict to actually see that during the talks, during the talks there is incremental improvement in order to believe that these talks are not just about talks but about facts.

Q. Al Arabiya: do you expect this round to continue until the 11 February or beyond this date in the presence of the two delegations?

A: I can’t tell you anything because the period of the talks depends on the capacity and the willingness of the sides to be engaged. It is certainly my intention that these talks go deeper and more deeper into the real discussions. I do see a willingness by everyone to want to go into those discussions. If by the 11th we will have achieved, as I hope something, or if we have not achieved something that will be something that I will certainly raise with the International Support Group which apparently is being planned for that, and then with the Security Council: they all need to be engaged and accountable together with us in making sure that these are not just another Geneva talks.

Q. Syrian TV: Mr de Mistura, I really need to hear something about that from you: when the Opposition say that they are proud that Mohamed Alloush one of them. Mohamed Alloush and I think everyone here see the photos: they put the woman in cages, are you accept that? What can we say to the Syrian people, they see these photos?

SdeM: Listen, at this stage, I’m a mediator (not) a negotiator, a mediator. I’m not discussing the people I’m seeing in front of me. What I’m discussing is what they will tell me and whether they will deliver something for the Syrian people. That’s why I’ve not been discussing who is representing the Government or who is representing the Opposition on this.

Q. Mayadeen TV : Est-ce que vous avez vraiment commencé les négociations sans préconditions ? Est-ce qu’il y a encore des conditions chez l’Opposition ? Quel est le rôle attendu de la part de la Russie et des Etats-Unis qui sont attendus aujourd’hui afin d’exercer une pression pour continuer ces négociations ?

SdeM : Comme vous savez très bien, la ligne que le Conseil de Sécurité devrait indiquer est de ne pas y avoir de préconditions préalables pour cette discussion. Ca n’empêche pas qu’il y a des préoccupations très sérieuses, qu’on ne peut pas ignorer, et l’opposition a indiqué aujourd’hui encore comment ces préoccupations doivent avoir une réponse a leurs yeux vis-à-vis des Syriens. On ne les contredît pas, les Syriens ont besoin d’une réponse.
Ayant dit ça, les négociations, les discussions ont commencé aujourd’hui, à 5h de l’après-midi, tandis que les deux côtés principaux ont déjà commencé à parler avec nous, on sait que ça va être des négociations compliquées et difficiles, mais ça a commencé.
Sur la questions de l’Amérique et de la Russie, la réponse est que ils sont les deux « co-sponsors » du Vienna groupe ISSG, ils sont engagés et j’ai aucune raison pour ne pas penser que actuellement ils travaillent pour que cette réunion « means success. »


Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura

Special Envoy de Mistura concluded today his present round of regional consultations with meetings in Tehran. He had useful exchanges with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian. Mr de Mistura updated his interlocutors on preparations for the upcoming Geneva Talks. Like he had done when he visited Saudi Arabia on 5 January, he asked and obtained the assurance of his interlocutors that current tensions in the region would not affect the engagement of their government in supporting the Vienna process and facilitating the holding of the Geneva Talks.

The Special Envoy is now going to debrief the Secretary-General and seek his guidance in view of the beginning of the Talks. He looks forward to the International Syria Support Group and the Security Council continuing to provide serious and consistent engagement, in order to ensure the beginning, on 25 January, of genuine political discussions aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.

Geneva, 10 January 2016


Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen

The Secretary-General condemns the attack from an as-yet unknown source on a hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Sa’ada province, Yemen, which killed at least four people and injured many others today.

He expresses his sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and the Yemeni people. This is the latest in a series of attacks on health facilities, following those in 2015 on the MSF-supported Haydan Medical Hospital in Sa’ada and a mobile health clinic in Taiz.

The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the increasingly limited access to essential health care services for Yemenis. He emphasizes that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law and that any intentional attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure is considered a serious violation of international humanitarian law. As in the case of other attacks in Yemen affecting civilians and civilian infrastructure, this incident should be investigated through prompt, effective, independent and impartial mechanisms to ensure accountability.

The Secretary-General again repeats his call on all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict to immediately cease all hostilities and resolve differences through peaceful negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy.

New York, 10 January 10, 2016


Saudi-Iran tensions will not hamper efforts to resolve Syria conflict – UN special envoy

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefs the press on the latest developments in the country. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefs the press on the latest developments in the country. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

10 January 2016 – The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, concluded today his regional consultations with meetings in Tehran, where he received assurances from his interlocutors that regional current tensions would not affect Iran’s engagement in facilitating the holding of upcoming Geneva talks on ending the crisis in Syria.

According to a note issued by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. de Mistura told a press conference in the Iranian capital that he had useful exchanges with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian. Mr. de Mistura updated his interlocutors on preparations for the upcoming Geneva talks on Syria.

Like he had done when he visited Saudi Arabia on 5 January, he asked and obtained the assurance of his interlocutors that current tensions in the region would not affect the engagement of their Government in supporting the Vienna process and facilitating the holding of the Geneva talks.

“That is my main message […] in Riyadh I got that type of assurance, and that reassures me and the Secretary General. In Tehran, I got the same assurance that tensions, which are unfortunately ongoing, are going to affect neither the Vienna momentum nor the Geneva talks,” Mr. de Mistura told reporters.

The Special Envoy is now going to debrief the Secretary-General and seek his guidance in view of the beginning of the talks. He looks forward to the International Syria Support Group and the Security Council continuing to provide serious and consistent engagement, in order to ensure the beginning, on 25 January, of genuine political discussions aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.

Mr. de Mistura’s regional consultations follow the Security Council’s adoption last month of its first resolution focused on the politics of ending Syria’s five-year-long war. The measure gave the United Nations an enhanced role in shepherding the opposing sides to talks for a political transition, and endorsed a timetable for a ceasefire, a new constitution and elections, all under UN auspices.

According to the resolution, the upcoming Intra-Syrian talks will be held in line with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué and consistent with the 14 November 2015 statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on the issue.