Transcript of Press Stakeout of United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen After Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Mr. Fayssal Mekdad
Let me start by saying a few things about the overall situation. As you all know, the situation for Syrians inside and outside the country continues to be extremely difficult. We have, since March 2020, we have had the ceasefire in place, we have front lines that have not shifted, but still, too many civilians are being killed. So, that’s still a challenge. Then, as you know very well the economic situation is extremely difficult, you know, close to now 15 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. So, we are struggling on all of these fronts.
And then, as I have said many times, the political process hasn’t really delivered for the Syrian people. But what I conveyed today to the Foreign Minister Fayssal Mekdad was that the UN is committed to work on all these areas. We will continue to work to try to see if there is a possibility for a nationwide ceasefire. We will continue to work on the humanitarian needs for the Syrian people, we will continue to work on the needs for the refugees, and for those living in the different areas inside of Syria, whether it is government-controlled areas or not.
But as we all know, these two things alone will not enable us really to move forward. What we really need is progress on the political front. So, I discussed with the Minister ways where we could establish confidence building measures in line with Security Council resolution 2254, and I of course then emphasised my ideas on a step-for-step approach, the importance for all parties to engage in that, and for us slowly to move forward.
We also had of course discussions on the Constitutional Committee. It is my hope after my discussions later today with Dr. (Ahmad) Kuzbari that we will have some positive news on that, and that within the not-too-distant future the Constitutional Committee will again be able to meet in Geneva.
Question: Will you meet with someone else here other than Minister Mekdad and Dr. Kuzbari in Syria?
Mr. Pedersen: You are well informed, indeed I will have several meetings here, but for me of course the most important thing, being in Damascus, is to meet with the Syrian government and also to meet then with Syrian government’s nominee for the Constitutional Committee.
Question: Today a conference on refugees in taking place in Damascus, have there been discussions about this conference?
Mr. Pedersen: No, but I will be briefed on this later today.
Question: Do you think that Security Council resolution is still working after many things changed in Syria? The field situation is changing, do you think it is still working?
Mr. Pedersen: I think this is a very important question, and I think we need to be honest and say, no, it has not been working so far. We need now to see that we start slowly, but steadily, to implement the different provisions of that Security Council resolution, and the good news is that all parties still say they are all committed to that resolution. So now, the question is can we start to build a little bit of confidence so that we are able to move forward.
Have a good day. Good to see you. Thank you.