GENEVA – The UN Special Envoy on Syria has appealed to all parties to work with the United Nations to end the country’s 11-year war ahead of peace talks in Geneva.
“As the conflict in Syria enters its 12th year – marking another grim milestone – Syrians continue to suffer in profound ways, and the hardship is only deepening,” said Geir Pedersen in a statement welcoming the new talks.
Last week Pedersen’s office announced that the talks involving the Constitutional Committee set after a UN Security Council resolution will resume in Geneva for five days from March 21.
“The way out of this impasse is for the parties to forge a political solution that can end the suffering of the Syrian people, restore Syria’s sovereignty, and enable the Syrian people to determine their own future,” said Pedersen.
“My sincere appeal to the Syrian parties and all key international actors is to work with the United Nations effort in order to help advance this shared goal.”
The UN envoy said his message to all those involved in the Syrian war is that “a military solution is an illusion.”
“We face a continuing stalemate, and at the same time, we see growing humanitarian needs and a socio-economic collapse,” said Pedersen.
He said the way out of the current impasse is for the parties to forge a political solution that “can end the suffering of the Syrian people, restore Syria’s sovereignty, and enable the Syrian people to determine their own future.”
He said such a solution is doable with the proper political will.
“I am pleased that the Constitutional Committee meets again soon in Geneva, and I believe it needs to move substantively forward on its mandate,” said Pedersen.
He told the UN Security Council in New York on February 25, “Any of a number of flashpoints could ignite a broader conflagration. We continue to see mutual shelling, skirmishes, IEDs (improvised explosive device), and security incidents across frontlines in the northwest, the northeast, and the southwest.”
Syria has been plagued by a vicious civil war since 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime began a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.