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UN SC support crucial for Geneva II talks to be productive

March 13, 2014, 22:13 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

The second round of inter-Syrian talks ended officially in Geneva on February 15, and the parties are set to continue their discussions, but the date of the next round has yet to be agreed

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UNITED NATIONS, March 13, /ITAR-TASS/. The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, urged the U.N. Security Council to show support for the Syrian talks to make their new round more productive.

Brahimi said after a closed-door meeting of the Security Council on Thursday, March 13, that the international community would like to continue the Geneva talks but needed the help and support of the Security Council to ensure that their new round is more productive than the previous two.

The international envoy briefed the Security Council on the the progress achieved at the second round of the Geneva II international conference on Syria.

The second round of inter-Syrian talks ended officially in Geneva on February 15, and the parties are set to continue their discussions, but the date of the next round has yet to be agreed.

Brahimi said the agenda of the next round had been agreed and consisted of four points: violence and terrorism, a transitional governing body, national institutions, national reconciliation, and a national dialogue.

He said the last session of the second round was “as laborious as all the meetings we have had, but we agreed on an agenda for the next round when it does take place.”

Brahimi admitted that “these two rounds have not come out with very much.”

Brahimi stressed that “failure is always staring at us in the face. As far as the United Nations is concerned we will certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward. If there isn’t, we will say so.”

The goal of the international conference on Syria is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

The communique lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

The conference marks the first time the Syrian government and the opposition will meet for direct talks since the conflict began in March 2011. Hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Joint Envoy Brahimi, the conference took place in Switzerland in two parts, opening in Montreux on January 23, 2014, and continuing at the U.N. office in Geneva, on January 24. More than 30 nations had been invited to attend.

On March 12, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for renewed political efforts to end what he described as the biggest humanitarian and security crisis in the world.

He believes that “only a political solution will end the nightmare of the Syrian people.” Ban urged Russia and the United States, as the initiating states of the Geneva Conference on Syria, “to take clear steps to re-energise the Geneva process”.

The basis of those talks is full implementation of an action plan adopted in the Geneva Communique of 2012, the first international conference on the conflict, which calls for setting up a transitional government that should then lead the country to free and fair elections.

Two rounds of talks mediated by Brahimi, the first in January of this year followed by a second round in February, saw both sides adhering to their positions and resulted in modest cooperation on a humanitarian issue related to aid access in the long-besieged Old City of Homs.

Ban strongly urged the Syrian government and opposition “to exercise responsibility, leadership, vision and flexibility to rise to the challenge.”

“The Syrian people need a clean break from the past to move towards a new Syria where their legitimate aspirations are met and all communities are protected,” the Secretary-General said, urging the Syrian sides, as well as the regional and international actors, to work with Brahimi “to bring the tragedy in Syria to an end.”

“Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels,” Ban said, adding that Syria’s neighbours are increasingly bearing the “unbearable humanitarian, security, political and socio-economic effects”.

“The effects and threats of this conflict will only grow and spread,” he warned, unless a political solution is reached.

Well over 100,000 people have been killed and an estimated 9 million others driven from their homes. In addition, there are currently more than 2.4 million refugees registered in the region: some 932,000 in Lebanon; 574,000 in Jordan; some 613,000 in Turkey; 223,000 in Iraq; and about 134,000 in Egypt, the U.N. Refugee Agency said.

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