De Mistura: Syrian people will determine their future

Geneva, SANA – The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Monday called upon the international community to exert more efforts for making the intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva a success, stressing that preconditions are not acceptable and that the Syrian people are the ones to determine their future.

In a press conference on Monday, the Special Envoy said that the intra-Syrian dialogue is important and required by all members of the international community, pointing out that he will brief the UN Security Council on today’s talks, adding that Monday’s agenda is based on UN Security Council resolution no. 2254 and the Geneva communiqué principles.

De Mistura said that some sides have attempted to hamper the dialogue, but he will help hold it with all means possible, stressing that there will be no preconditions, as what is sought is honesty and opportunities of rapprochement, in addition to making the outcomes of the dialogue positive, considering that the alternative, what some sides call “Plan B” is returning to war and to a situation worse than before.

He noted that there has been some sort of fragility in the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, adding that humanitarian aid reached many areas, and that there is progress in the aid issue although it’s still insufficient.

De Mistura pointed out that the aim was for the talks to be as inclusive as possible and to include all Syrian sides, stressing the need for finding standards that allow all sides to participate in the intra-Syrian dialogue, which should tackle all issues.

He said that dialogue cannot focus just on procedures; rather it should tackle the issues related to the future of the Syrian people, adding that if he finds that there is no willingness to negotiate, he would refer the issue back to Russia and America, the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), and the Security Council.

The UN Envoy said that he and the UN Secretary-General share a view regarding the future of Syria which is based on the Syrians’ right to determine their future.

De Mistura added that a briefing on the process of dialogue will be given each Monday, with no exclusive meetings within the time of the dialogue, clarifying that such meetings could be done after dialogue, not during it.

He pointed out that the plan is to have three rounds of dialogue in Geneva, with the first round ending on March 24th followed by a 10-day break, then a second round of at least two weeks, before another recess and a third round.

“By then we believe we should have at least a clear roadmap. I’m not saying agreement, but a clear roadmap because that’s what Syria is expecting from all of us,” he added.

Rasha Milhem / Hazem Sabbagh

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