Thank you to Special Envoy Pedersen, ASG Msuya, and Ms. Shawky for your briefings.
It is clear that advancing implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254 must be central in the weeks and months ahead. We urge all Syrian, and international parties, to commit to prioritizing a sustainable political solution to end this 11-year war.
We welcome the Seventh Session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which took place in Geneva a few weeks ago. We are encouraged that all delegations offered at least some revisions, to some of the texts. However, much more determination will be needed to make real progress.
We take note of the plans to convene a next round of negotiations on May 28. We call on all participants to prioritise constructive engagement, towards concrete outcomes. This is vital for building trust and confidence.
Norway will continue supporting the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led political process. We reiterate our support to the Special Envoy’s step-for-step approach.
Let me also highlight again the issue of persons who are missing, and unlawfully deprived of their liberty. We are deeply concerned by the lack of progress on the release of detainees, and the dissemination of information to families of the missing. So many Syrians are personally affected and have no information on what happened to their family members. We underline that progress on this file is essential for breaking through the current political stalemate.
We call on all parties to allow humanitarian actors - such as the ICRC - to visit detention centres, and carry out their important work providing information to the families of victims.
Earlier in April, we all heard the briefing of Mariana Karkoutly at the Open Debate on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. She drew particular attention to the troubling reports of the use of sexual violence in detention settings in Syria and provided a grim picture of how sexual violence is used to humiliate, punish, and silence the voices of politically active women. We must heed her words.
We call for an end to all sexual and gender-based violence in Syria, and simultaneously underline the irreplaceable value of women's full, safe, equal, and meaningful participation in political processes.
Let me conclude by addressing the situation in the northeast. We are concerned about increased tensions, exacerbated by bombing, sieges, price hikes, and water shortages. The situation is explosive and may spiral out of control. Such a situation would strengthen terrorist groups as ISIL. We therefore urge all parties involved to urgently contribute to lowering tensions.