With peace in Syria still an elusive goal, UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen appealed on Tuesday for the Security Council to support his efforts to move the parties closer towards a negotiated political solution to end the brutal 11-year conflict.
The country is facing its worst economic crisis since the war began, as well as a deadly cholera outbreak that is rapidly spreading.
Mr. Pedersen reported on his recent “busy period of diplomatic engagement” with key Syrian and international stakeholders, including in connection with the stalled Constitutional Committee meetings in Geneva.
“This political solution is the only path to sustainable peace,” he said, speaking from the Swiss city.
“Sadly, we are a long way from this goal at present, and there are challenging diplomatic and ground realities that make advancing towards a comprehensive solution difficult. But the status quo should not be acceptable and there are ways forward.”
Seven years ago, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2254 which outlines a roadmap for a peace process in Syria.
So far, the political process has not delivered for the Syrian people, said Mr. Pedersen, and conflict remains “very active” across the country.
Listing examples, he said the terrorist group ISIL remains a serious threat. One of the largest weapons caches since its fall was recently discovered in the northeast, underscoring the insurgents’ continued capacity to carry out attacks.
Pro-Government airstrikes also were reported in areas of northwest Syria where none had been reported for a long time.
Meanwhile, in the northeast, drone strikes, mutual shelling and confrontations have been reported between the Syrian Democratic Forces on the one hand, and Türkiye and armed opposition groups on the other.
Mr. Pedersen said he is pushing for all stakeholders “to engage on step-for-step confidence building measures” towards advancing Resolution 2254.
“The key Syrian and international stakeholders need to rebuild their confidence that cooperation on Syria is possible and that Syria can be firewalled from other conflicts. That confidence can only be built by concrete actions,” he stressed.
Engagement will continue. So far, some countries have identified “concrete areas for potential steps”, he said, but talks need to go further.