Thank you, President. And thank you to Special Envoy Pedersen for your briefing. The violence and escalation in the south of Syria over the summer - and also in the north - are cruel reminders of the urgency to see progress on the political file and move forward towards a political solution.
It illustrates the need for all in Syria to agree on a nationwide ceasefire in line with Security Council Resolution 2254. It also shows that the status quo is not viable and how volatile the situation is. The relative calm we have seen the last year and a half is fragile - as the Special Envoy has highlighted - and we support efforts to encourage de-escalation. There is a significant risk of further violence and more civilian casualties. And let me remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians.
President, in last month’s meeting, Norway - along with other Council members - expressed our hope that the Council’s unanimous vote in support of Resolution 2585 could form the basis of a renewed and more constructive dialogue and process on the political track. We continue to hope for such engagement by all parties, in order to make progress that benefits the entire Syrian population.
In this regard, let me also repeat our support to the Special Envoy’s efforts for a better international mechanism and a step-by-step approach. We urge all actors involved in Syria to engage constructively in this process and to identify concrete issues that can be a part of a step-by-step negotiation.
President, in order to secure an inclusive and credible process, we highlight the need to see women included. We support the Special Envoy’s efforts to engage with the Women’s Advisory Board and broader civil society in Syria, including women’s groups, in this regard.
Overall, Resolution 2254 remains the framework for a political solution in Syria, agreed by consensus by this Council. It includes a nationwide ceasefire, release of arbitrarily detained persons and a new constitution with elections following. Thus, the Constitutional Committee is just one part of a larger puzzle, but it is still the only ongoing process and arena where the parties meet. Although there has not been a sixth round of negotiations yet, we note that work is ongoing, and support the UN Special Envoy's efforts in this regard. Furthermore, we hope that the parties will agree on a suitable framework before the next round of negotiations.
It is imperative that the next round produces concrete results towards a reformed constitution, and that the work for a broader political solution continues and shows progress as well. Both the Syrian parties and the regional and international actors involved in Syria must contribute to progress and make compromises.
President, let me conclude by underlining that the Syrian people deserve peace and stability. The region needs this as well.