De Mistura pushes for political solution to crisis in Syria

Damascus, SANA – The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura stressed the need to focus on fighting Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organizations and give priority to reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

De Mistura’s comments came during a press conference held in Sheraton Hotel in Damascus on Tuesday.

He said that “We seek to reduce violence as much as possible and reach a comprehensive solution to the crisis in Syria. Everybody is convinced that solution should be political.”

The UN special envoy highlighted the major points of his proposal to the UN Security Council, on the top of which is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism, and secondly, the reduction of violence.

“We are trying to communicate with large numbers of people inside Syria and abroad who have suffered from the ongoing conflict in the country in order to reach a comprehensive political solution,” de Mistura added.

He stressed that “the Syrian people need to reach a constructive political solution after three and a half years of suffering,” indicating that the focus in current stage will be on Aleppo.

On the agenda of his visit to Syria, de Mistura said that he held a series of productive and constructive meetings over the past three days where he met Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, held expanded talks with President Bashar al-Assad, and met Governor of Homs province.

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He expressed shock at the volume of destruction in Homs, adding that “We don’t want to repeat the same in Aleppo and this is why I came out with a UN initiative on freezing fighting which is a new outlet to halt the escalation of violence, particularly in Aleppo.”

The UN special envoy stated that halting fighting and implementing a ceasefire complies with the UN and Security Council resolutions nos. 2170 and 2178 and is meant to launch a spark of hope and achieve some accomplishment in stability, adding that if the plan succeeds, “freezing” would be the cornerstone for a forthcoming political process.

He said Aleppo was selected as a starting point due to the pressure and ongoing conflict which have been raging the city for some time, noting that the emergence of ISIS necessitates taking action regarding the situation there.

De Mistura added that he felt the seriousness of President al-Assad and the Syrian government in studying his proposal, pointing out to the need to ensure that it will be considered and studied by other parties.

On the response of the Syrian side towards the initiative, de Mistura said that he can’t speak on behalf of the Syrian government and that all he can say that the first reaction was positive.

“We are the ones who chose Aleppo and the way this process will proceed. For now, the Syrian government is waiting our communications with other parties,” he added, stressing that talks are underway in this regard to ensure the possibility of going ahead with this proposal.

Rasha Raslan / Hazem Sabbagh

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