I make this statement in a national capacity on the political situation in Syria. I wish to thank Mounerfa Albarouki for your valuable inputs to our discussions today, and thank you also to Special Envoy Pedersen for your briefing.
Let me start by commending Special Envoy Pedersen and your team for the hard work in preparing the meeting of the constitutional committee in Geneva last week, and for your efforts to bring the Syrian parties back to the table. We welcome that there were good open discussions in Geneva, and that the parties presented texts. This was a step forward. We had however - like you- hoped for more concrete results, and a more optimistic conclusion.
We support your efforts as Special Envoy to identify possible next steps for the Constitutional Committee. And we urge all sides - in particular the Syrian Government - to make the efforts needed to bring the constitutional process forward.
President, Resolution 2254 remains the framework for a political solution in Syria - one agreed by consensus by this Council. It outlines a new constitution with elections following.
While the Constitutional Committee is only one part of a larger puzzle - it is a very important one. It has so far been the only ongoing process and arena where the parties meet. And we reiterate the importance of consulting with the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board, and Civil Society Support Room in these efforts.
Let me also highlight the importance of seeing progress on other parts of resolution 2254, not least release of the arbitrarily detained persons - which remains such an important issue for Syrian people.
The ongoing violence in several places in Syria lately - in the north but also in Damascus - are reminders of the urgent need for all to agree on a nationwide ceasefire. It also illustrates the need for progress towards a political solution. This kind of status quo is not viable. We continue to support the Special Envoy’s efforts to implement a step-by-step approach.
Furthermore, we encourage de-escalation. If not, there is a significant risk of further violence, and more civilian casualties. And I remind all parties of their obligation to protect civilians.
Syria is still used as a base for terrorist activities. The continued fight against ISIL remains important as stability in Syria, is crucial for the region, and for the broader international community.