As the brutal war in Syria enters its seventh year, peace “is a moral and political imperative both for the Syrian people and for the world,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said today, urging the conflict parties to fully back a fragile ceasefire and ensure aid access, as well as to support UN-facilitated talks set to pick up again late this month.
“For six years now, the Syria people have been victims of one of the worst conflicts of our time,” said Mr. Guterres in a statement on the crisis in Syria, which began in March 2011 after a crackdown on massive popular protests throughout the country turned into an armed struggle that has dispalced millions.
The UN chief issued two urgent appeals to all the parties, firstly, to make the most of the 30 December 2016 ceasefire established by the guarantors of the Astana meetings – Russia, Turkey and Iran – enhance it further, and ensure that relief aid can reach all those in need in Syria without any obstacles and impediments.
Secondly, the UN chief appealed to all those with influence on the conflict parties to overcome their differences and work together to put an end to the conflict, namely by contributing to the success of the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2254 (2015), which endorsed a road map for a peace process in Syria, including specific language on governance, constitution and elections.
The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura announced last week that he expects to convene intra-Syrian negotiations on 23 March.
For his part, Mr. Guterres underscored: “Peace in Syria is a moral and political imperative both for the Syrian people and for the world – an imperative that cannot wait.”