Statement by Mr. Geir Pedersen Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, on the situation in Syria.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that the situation in Idlib must be stabilized and if that is achieved, “we must then avoid the risk of a no-war-no-peace scenario.”
Addressing the Council via teleconference from Geneva today (27 Jun), Pedersen said civilians in and around Idlib continue to be killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced due to the indiscriminate use of force by the warring parties. He said the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) must cease its attacks, but reminded that, even while fighting terrorism, there must be full compliance with international law. He said strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure – including deconflicted health facilities and humanitarian workers – are absolutely unacceptable.
The Special Envoy said the current escalation and unrest also sends the wrong signal to Syrian refugees and reinforces their doubts over security conditions, conscription, and livelihoods in Syria. He warned from a “no-war-no-peace” scenario with frontlines and frozen but there is periodic unrest, five international armies in perpetual risk of confrontation, and still no political solution.
The Special Envoy added that both Turkey and Russia have reassured him that they remain committed to the September 2018 memorandum of understanding, but he added that we need to see this implemented on the ground.
Pedersen provided details of recent dialogue between the two parties and other officials, saying that he looked forward to consultations in Damascus in the near future. He expressed his belief that the path to concluding the constitutional committee’s composition now may be open.
SOUNDBITE (English) Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations: “The constitutional committee can be a door-opener. But it will not alone solve the conflict or the challenges facing Syria. This can only unfold if we begin to see real trust and confidence developing, via tangible and reciprocal steps, including on the ground.”
Pedersen told the Council that now was the time “for the Idlib situation to be stabilized and a nationwide ceasefire pursued. It is in fact past time to launch a constitutional committee. It is also time to try to develop a climate of confidence-building measures. And we clearly need a renewed international support format.”