Thank you to Special Envoy Pedersen for your compelling briefing. I would also like to thank Mr. Bernard Duhaime from the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, for his very timely briefing.
As the Special Envoy and other Council Members have reflected upon, this month marks the 10th anniversary of the Syrian conflict. The fact that this conflict is still ongoing is indeed a sad reflection of the international community - and of all of us- failing the Syrian people. We should use this tragic anniversary not only to reflect on our mistakes but to look for ways of changing the dynamics of the conflict, and actually moving forward.
But as the Special Envoy has highlighted, Syrians themselves must own the political process. We urge the government of Syria and the opposition to put the needs of the people first, and move the constitutional process and the broader peace process forward.
We commend the inclusion of civil society and would urge the Special Envoy to continue to draw on the expertise of civil society members of the Constitutional Committee.
This conflict cannot be solved by Syrians alone. Several actors remain deeply involved in the conflict – and they all need to be a part of the solution.
We, the broader international community, also need to ask ourselves how we can contribute to unlock this stalled peace process. To help parties move to a phase of progress and difficult compromise from all sides.
Progress on the political track is the key to stability, development, and the return of refugees to Syria. Norway gives its full support to the Special Envoy in his efforts to engage with the parties and relevant actors in the political process.
Turning to the latest developments - we have taken note that there will most likely not be a sixth round of negotiations in the Constitutional Committee before Ramadan. Although the lack of progress is disappointing, we know the parties have worked on proposals, and we welcome the Special Envoy’s recent talks with the parties and other relevant actors. In order not to lose momentum, input and feedback from all sides needs to be timely and unambiguous.
The coming weeks should be used to prepare for the next round of talks, to ensure the Syrian parties can move closer to a reformed constitution. One which addresses the needs of the people, and contributes to a political settlement.
Norway continues to call for the implementation of all aspects of resolution 2254. This resolution was agreed by consensus in the Council, and there remains broad agreement that this is the framework we have for a political settlement. We have a responsibility to ensure it is implemented.
Today the constitutional track is the most active part. But we need to ensure progress also on other issues in tandem. I would especially highlight the importance of releasing those arbitrarily imprisoned and detained. This is a key issue for the Syrian people, and for building confidence between the parties. We urge the parties to contribute in good faith to this process, and to work with the Special Envoy and his team to find solutions.
The lack of accountability for violations and abuses against civilians is untenable. Those responsible for atrocities must be held accountable and the rights and needs of the victims must be ensured. Accountability remains central to achieving durable peace and a national reconciliation process.
No amount of time - not even a decade - can erase this need.