After Russia said it considers Geneva unfit to host the Syrian Constitutional Committee talks, the Syrian Government delegation quickly followed suit and said it boycott upcoming sessions, putting the political process in a deadlock. It is to salvage this UN-promoted process that several countries involved in the Syrian crisis met in Geneva this week. Representatives of the Arab League, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iraq, Jordan, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States met in the Swiss City.
According to the Kurdish agency North Press, the final statement of the Geneva meeting called on Thursday for finding a political solution for the Syrian crisis, concentrating on several issues, including refugees, UN aid, and war against the Islamic State Organization (ISIS).
In a media note, the U.S. Department of State said the representatives stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. They stressed that “there is no military solution for the Syrian crisis.”
The importance of implementing and sustaining an immediate nationwide ceasefire, holding free and fair elections, ending arbitrary detention, and releasing all those unjustly arrested were among the issues tackled during the meeting.
The meeting outcomes also stressed the need for Syrian refugees and IDPs to return to their areas in line with UNHCR standards.
They [representatives] also mentioned that they are aware of threats imposed by Islamic State Organization (ISIS), and renewed their support to the U.S.-led Global coalition to defeat ISIS missions.
The note also included that all parties should resume meetings of the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned Constitutional Committee under UN auspices in Geneva, and advance an inclusive political solution that protects “the territorial integrity, unity, and sovereignty of Syria and the rights and dignity of all Syrians.”
The representatives also expressed their concern “about the dire humanitarian situation in Syria and the ongoing suffering of the Syrian people.”
In addition, they confirmed the importance of sending humanitarian aid to all parts of Syria in all ways, “including expansion and extension of the UNSC resolution 2642 cross-border aid mechanism.”
France in the UN
A day earlier, France’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Sheraz Gasri, accused Russia of “holding hostage the Syrian political process”, according to the website of the Permanent Mission of France to the UN.
“After 11 years of conflict, no political solution in accordance with resolution 2254, which was adopted unanimously, is in sight. This is however a prerequisite for any lasting peace in Syria. Under these conditions, the French and European positions on the lifting of sanctions, on normalization and on reconstruction will remain unchanged”.
The opposition website Syria TV reported that Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Regional Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Saleh al-Khulaifi, expressed his country’s concern over the suspension of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. He noted that the Syrian regime has not taken any measures to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
In a speech at the meeting of special envoys to Syria in Geneva, convened by the United States of America, Khulaifi stressed
Qatar’s position calls for the resolution of the Syrian crisis through the full implementation of Security Council resolution 2254.
The Qatari assistant foreign minister expressed “deep concern about the suspension of the work of the constitutional committee and the Syrian regime’s failure to take any political steps towards finding a solution to the 11-year-old Syrian crisis,” according to a statement by the Qatari Foreign Ministry.
“There is a great responsibility on this group, which is to coordinate and help to put an end to the suffering that Syrians have endured over the past 11 years,” Khulaifi said.