UN special envoy for Syria calls on actors to take concrete steps for this renewed attention to help unlock progress
The UN special envoy for Syria said Thursday that they are at a “potentially important juncture” in efforts to move forward a political process on Syria amid recent diplomatic moves.
“This renewed attention to Syria is very important if it can act as a circuit breaker and unlock long-stalled efforts to move the political process forward,” Geir Pedersen told the UN Security Council.
He said they have seen renewed diplomatic attention toward Syria in the aftermath of the earthquakes on Feb. 6, referring to the Astana players — Russia, Türkiye and Iran — and to new openings of engagement between Arab countries and the Syrian regime.
In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia, which once backed Syrian rebel groups, sent its Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan to Damascus for the first time since the kingdom cut ties with the Assad regime more than a decade ago.
“With renewed attention on Syria – particularly from the region – that could assist our efforts in advancing a political solution to this conflict in line with Resolution 2254,” he said.
“But for this renewed attention to help unlock progress, many actors will need to take concrete steps – not just one set of actors.”
UN aid agency official Lisa Doughten said the current scale of humanitarian need in Syria is “unprecedented” and the Feb. 6 earthquakes added more death and destruction to parts of northern Syria already worn down by more than a decade of war.
“Even before the earthquake, 15.3 million people—more than half of the total population—required humanitarian assistance and protection support. This number, I fear, only stands to grow,” she said.
“The protection needs provoked by the earthquakes are enormous.”
Turkish Ambassador to the UN Sedat Onal also pointed out signs of a tendency toward greater engagement in the region in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
”We think that every initiative is important and valuable, as far as it is part and parcel of a holistic and coordinated approach to find viable solutions to the existing problems through a credible political process,” he said.
”We hope that this can open a window of opportunity, and it can be seized by all stakeholders,” he added.
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