UN Special Envoy: Diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation must prevail for the interest of all Syrians

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EYEAFRICA TV: Vienna, Austria: United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said at the end of the two-day intra-Syrian talks in Vienna that it was “high time that diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation prevail for the interest of all Syrians.”

Speaking to reporters in Vienna early Saturday morning, de Mistura measured that it is understood that any Constitutional Committee would at the very least comprise Government, opposition representatives in the intra-Syrian talks, Syrian experts, civil society, independents, tribal leaders and women; that care would be taken to ensure adequate representation of Syria’s ethnic and religious components; and that final agreement is to be reached in the UN-led Geneva process on the mandate and terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure, and selection criteria for the composition of a Constitutional Committee.

“The ultimate goal of a constitutional process is to enable the Syrian people to freely and independently determine their own future in UN-supervised parliamentary and presidential elections meeting the requirements laid out in resolution 2254,” de Mistura said.

The Special Envoy said he was gravely concerned at the situation on the ground in Syria in all its dimensions, political, security, humanitarian and human rights. He said it was “vital to end all violence and restore full respect for Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence and for the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people through a Syrian-led and owned process facilitated by the UN.”

He called for “unhindered humanitarian access and progress on detainees, abductees, and missing people.”

The Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought primarily between the government of President Bashar al-Assad, along with its allies, and various forces opposing the government.

The unrest is part of a wider wave of 2011 Arab Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Assad government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for his removal were violently suppressed. The war is being fought by several factions: the Syrian government and its allies, a loose alliance of Sunni Arab rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved, or rendering support to one or another faction.

De Mistura said he recalled in his consultation with a number of concerned countries that the objective of the political process is the “full and complete implementation of resolution 2254 negotiated in the Geneva intra-Syrian talks process under the auspices of the United Nations as mandated by the Security Council.” All reaffirmed their commitment to respecting my mandate in that regard and to the Geneva political process facilitated by the United Nations.”

The Special Envoy said he was briefed on preparations for the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi on 29 and 30 January and took note of the statement by the Russia that the outcome of the Congress would be brought to Geneva as a contribution to the intra-Syrian talks process under the auspices of the United Nations. He said he would brief UN chief António Guterres on the outcome of the Vienna meetings and it would be up to him to decide on the UN’s response to the invitation to go to Sochi.

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