|Establishment of contact group on Syria proposed at Tehran meeting||
TEHRAN – The countries that participated in the Tehran Consultative Meeting on Syria on Thursday proposed that a contact group be established to help defuse the Syrian crisis through political channels.
The proposal was put forward in a statement issued at the end of the one-day international meeting, which was held in the Iranian capital with the aim of stepping up regional and international efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The meeting was chaired by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, and delegates from Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Benin, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the United Nations attended the meeting.
The following recommendations were made in the meeting’s final statement, the English text of which was released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry:
- Expressing serious concern over the continuation of clashes and violation of human rights in Syria and the vast losses and damages which have caused grief and numerous problems for the people of Syria, and expressing sympathy with the family of the victims of armed clashes and terrorist acts.
- Emphasizing the necessity of pursuing political solutions based on national dialogue as the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis with the main objective of bringing the violence to a total end and encouraging the two sides to prepare the ground for the national dialogue.
- Expressing support to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people to carry out reforms in order to build democracy and promote all-out political partnership of different parties and opposition groups to exercise their right to run their own country, in a peaceful manner and calm atmosphere and without any foreign intervention.
- Expressing welcome and support to all good offices made already in line with the principles of good intentions and impartiality to settle the Syrian crisis and appreciating the efforts made by the Secretary General of the UN and his special envoy Mr. Kofi Annan for his 6-point plan as well as putting emphasis on continuation of the activities of the international observers to consolidate sustainable peace and tranquility in Syria.
- Emphasizing the need to uphold the principles of international law regarding non-intervention in domestic affairs of other countries and the respect of their national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and urging to cease the hostilities by putting an end to any military assistance to armed groups and warning of the dangerous impacts of support for armed groups on regional peace and security.
- Emphasizing the necessity to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Syria in order to mitigate the plight of Syrian people in cooperation with the government of Syria.
- Emphasizing the necessity to examine establishing of a contact group from among the participating countries aiming to end the violence and starting the inclusive dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.
- Expressing serious concern over the entry of known terrorist groups and sects into the Syrian conflict and seriously warning of the spread of terrorism and its dire consequences on the peace and security of the region.
- Welcoming the proposal of the Islamic Republic of Iran for calling upon the conflicting parties to end clashes and violence for three months on the occasion of the arrival of Eid al-Fitr, which is one of the most important (festivities) for all Muslims of the world to stop hostilities in Syria in order to follow up negotiations and adopt peaceful mechanisms.
UN sec gen thanks Iran for hosting consultative meeting on Syria
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a message to the Tehran meeting, which was read out by Consuelo Vidal-Bruce, the UN resident coordinator in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Following are excerpts of Ban’s message:
I thank the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting this consultative meeting on Syria at this critical stage.
Despite repeated verbal acceptances of the Six-Point Plan endorsed by the UN Security Council, both the government and the opposition continue to rely on weapons, not diplomacy, in the belief that they will win through violence.
But there will be no winner in Syria. Now, we face the grim possibility of long-term civil war destroying Syria’s rich tapestry of interwoven communities. This would have tragic implications for Syria’s people and could affect stability across the region. We cannot let this prediction come true.
All of us have a responsibility to the people of Syria. We must use all of the peaceful means in the UN Charter to help them unite around a Syrian-led transition process that is based on dialogue and compromise by all sides on the ground, not bullets, arrests, abductions, and intimidation. This process should also preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity.
On June 30th in Geneva, Foreign Ministers of the Action Group, including the five permanent Council members, agreed on an action plan.
The Action Group agreed that any transition in Syria should include a transitional governing body, which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place, and which would exercise full executive powers.
For the first time, the international community was able to agree on a path that should lead to a state that is genuinely pluralistic and democratic. This was an important step in support of the Syrian-owned process. This was a genuine opportunity for a better future for all Syrians that offered a process with which all can seriously engage.
However, since then, there has been no follow-through. Instead, the situation has worsened. Now the international community must again find common ground. The important work that Joint Special Envoy, Mr. Kofi Annan, has undertaken must continue. There are clear common interests among regional and international powers in a managed political transition. A conflagration threatens an explosion in the region that could affect the rest of the world. Joint action requires bilateral and collective efforts by all countries with influence over the actors on the ground in Syria, to press upon the parties that a political solution is essential.
The General Assembly adopted resolution 66/253-B on 3 August, which stressed the importance of making rapid progress on a political transition and encouraged Member States to provide active support to this end. For this consultative group, this means that it must take concerted efforts to persuade Syria’s leadership to change course and embrace a political transition. A first move by the government is vital, as its intransigence and refusal to implement the six-point peace plan has been the greatest obstacle to any peaceful political process, ensuring the distrust of the opposition in proposals for a negotiated transition. The opposition, too, should be more forthcoming in favor of opportunities for a political solution. Most importantly and urgently, all sides must protect civilians and abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.
The resolutions of the Security Council together with those of the General Assembly require the parties to end the violence, in all its forms, and move towards a democratic, plural political system, with equal rights for all. The international community has an obligation to support the implementation of these resolutions. United international pressure can make a difference. The Syrian people need action. Their aspirations have been denied. Their suffering is profound, and the increasing militarization promises only worse.
The primary responsibility for stopping the violence rests with those on the ground, particularly the government. But their refusal to lay down arms does not absolve the rest of us of the need to act. I urge all of you to face up to the collective responsibilities we shoulder.
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|Last Updated on 10 August 2012 17:36|