Thank you for your briefings Special Envoy Pedersen and ASG Msuya.
Let me begin today by underlining Norway’s continued commitment to an inclusive, Syrian-owned and Syrian-led, political solution. This — alongside addressing the humanitarian, economic, and security situation on the ground – is essential to bringing the more than a decade-long suffering of the Syrian people to an end.
In this regard, advancing the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254 - a consensus resolution adopted by this Council - is paramount. Implementation both by the Syrian parties themselves, as well as by all of us in the international community. Norway continues its steadfast support to Special Envoy Pedersen in his efforts to further the ‘step-for-step’ approach as a way to seek progress on the political track, and the work of the constitutional committee.
We welcome that invitations have been sent out for the seventh round of the small body of the Constitutional Committee to be held end of March. The parties should use this opportunity to bring the constitutional process forward. Progress in the constitutional process will be welcomed not only by this council, but by the whole international community. We urge all actors involved in the Syrian conflict to contribute constructively and in good faith.
There are many issues in resolution 2254 of common interest, that will benefit not only the people of Syria, but also the neighboring countries and be supported by the broader international community. And the release of detainees and information about the missing to families is crucial and will affect so many Syrians.
This is also the case for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of refugees, combating terrorism and inclusive political reform.
Let me also emphasize the important work and role of the Syrian Women Advisory Board, who convened in Norway this January. They gave a clear message to the international community about the need for an inclusive political solution.
Their role is crucial as is the role of the Syrian Civil society Support Room in the effort to bring the political process forward.
Even though the frontlines have been quite stable for some time in Syria, there is still warfare, shelling and airstrikes going on, and civilians are being killed and injured as a result of that. We need a political solution, but it is also clear that a nation-wide ceasefire is needed, that is also part of res 2254. Let me also express the importance of continuing the fight against ISIL in Syria. The need for this has been shown by the latest developments as the terror group continues to use Syria as a base to operate from.
The security situation remains fragile, and the current political stalemate is untenable. It is time for a new dynamic of genuine progress. For the sake of the Syrian people, for their neighbors, and for the larger international community.