Let me start by thanking Special Envoy Pedersen for his briefing. We appreciate you and your team’s tireless efforts to seek a political solution in Syria.
I also wish to thank Thuraya Hijazi for her important words here today.
Let me express our sincere hope that 2022 brings with it advancement in the implementation of Resolution 2254- including a nationwide ceasefire. For this to happen though, it is necessary for both the Syrian parties –and we in the international community– to do more to move past this “strategic stalemate.”
We already have the framework for a political solution agreed by consensus in this Council. Now, more must be done to implement it.
Norway urges all actors involved in the conflict to contribute constructively and in good faith; and take concrete steps to move forward on the political track.
Let me take this opportunity also to reiterate Norway’s support for Special Envoy Pedersen, including recent efforts to further the ‘step-for-step’ approach, and his efforts to seek progress in the work of the constitutional committee. We must all contribute to the process by identifying steps that can give the political process a new dynamic, and make genuine progress. For the sake of the Syrian people- for their neighbours, and for the larger international community.
A sustainable end to the conflict in Syria requires including and hearing from all relevant parties. This includes the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of the peace and security agenda; and the prioritisation of women’s direct participation in formal mechanisms. We thank Thuraya Hijazi for reminding the Council of the importance of this today.
Let me also emphasise the important work and role of Syrian Women Advisory Board in bringing a diversity of Syrian women’s voices into the political process, and into the work of the UN Special Envoy. Norway is pleased to support them.
The prison attack in Al Hasakeh on 20 January is one of the largest coordinated actions by ISIL since the terrorist group was declared territorially defeated in Syria in 2019. This shows all too clearly that ISIL is still active, capable, and a threat we must continue to fight. We are concerned that the lack of a political solution to the Syria crisis gives further room for ISIL to grow. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned by the situation for civilians in Al-Hasakeh. It is highly concerning that a large number of boys reportedly have been exposed to- or some even injured or killed- by fighting between ISIL and the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces (SDF).
Let me conclude today by reiterating Norway’s continued commitment to finding an inclusive, Syrian owned, and Syrian led, political solution, as well as addressing the humanitarian, economic, and security situation on the ground. Issues like: the release of detainees, the safe and dignified return of refugees, combating terrorism, and inclusive political reform, are central to bringing the long tragedy, and suffering, of the Syrian people to an end.
I thank you.