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Friday, February 26, 2016

Demitura's report to Security Council: Truce Mechanism

STAFFAN DE MISTURA
Special Envoy for Syria
(As delivered) Briefing to the Security Council pursuant to Resolution 2254(2015)
26 February 2016
 
Mr. President, Members of the Security Council,           
1.          On behalf of the Secretary-General, I welcome the adoption – I hope soon, of a resolution, which will address the issue we worked on for long.  We have come a long way since the first meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Vienna on 30 October 2015.  Much has also transpired since I last briefed this Council on 5 February 2016.  That was the day when I did suspend the intra-Syrian talks in light of the positions articulated by the parties and for the lack of progress on the ground.
2.         Three weeks later and as a result of the heavy-lifting by members of the ISSG – in particular its co-chairs – of the two Task Forces which have been formed in Munich on 12 February 2016, we have aid delivered in the last 10 days to almost 110,000 people.  200 trucks were moving inside Syria to reach people with aid. The first WFP test air drop in Deir Eizzor took place, in order to reach an area of 230,000 people under siege by Daesh. Perhaps most importantly, we have a provisional agreement on the terms of a cessation of hostilities as announced by the Russian and US co-chairs at the beginning of this week. This cessation of hostilities is in fact meant to come into effect in about one hour from now at 00:00hrs Damascus time.
3.            So this Council meeting has a special significance on this exceptional day and night for the Syrians. Consequently I will be giving, with your permission, a rather unorthodox briefing. Rather than walking you through the implementation of 2254 – on which you already have the Secretary-General’s letter of 17 February 2016, I will focus on the post-Munich developments, many unfolding in almost real time. 
4.            As an outcome of the Munich ISSG meeting we now have specific obligations for ISSG members and for Syrians to fulfill. There is a mechanism to that effect. There is an agreed set of actions and an immediate timeline. 
5.            You have just deliberated on a resolution that will hopefully endorse all of these steps. Then let me give you an idea of the hard work that brought us to this stage. 
Let me give you’re the [description of what you are to adopt].
Sustained Humanitarian Access and Humanitarian Task Force
6.            This Council is well aware of the detailed briefings on the overall grave humanitarian situation in Syria. Over the last month alone, the report on the implementation of resolution 2139, the report of the Commission of Inquiry, as well as the Secretary-General’s letter of 17 February painted quite a tragic and harrowing picture of the desperate conditions of civilians, including many women, children  and the sick people in besieged communities across Syria – besieged by the government, by the opposition, by Daesh.  To this we should add the unprecedented level of internal displacement and the growing number of Syrians embarking on often a fatal journey across land and sea to seek safety and asylum in Europe and elsewhere.
7.            Humanitarian issues have taken a center stage in the latest ISSG deliberations in Munich, leading to the establishment of the ISSG Task Force on Humanitarian Access, which has met already three times since 12 February. 
8.            My office, including my Senior Adviser on Humanitarian issues, Jan Egeland, and the UNCT in Damascus, led by the UN RC/HC, Yacoub El Hillo, have worked hard, together with implementing partners (such as SARC) to generate a humanitarian plan as requested by the ISSG. In the first instance urgently needed humanitarian aid was indeed delivered to the besieged areas identified in the Munich statement: Madaya, Zabadani, Mohadamiya, Kafr Batna (which is part of Eastern Ghouta), Kefraya and Fouah.  Thanks to the prompt operational response of our WFP colleagues too and the generosity of ISSG members such as Germany, the US, the Netherlands, as well as technical support offered by the Russian Federation, we also witnessed the first test run drops to Deir Ez Zor, which is a difficult environment.
9.         To date, the task force members, we believe, have lived up to their commitment  in Munich by using their influence with the parties to ensure an increased flow of assistance – not enough, but quite an increase. These remarkable efforts were not without difficulties or still some serious delays – that is why the task force is addressing those. We are still waiting for approval for aid delivery for an additional 170,000 people. Simplifying approval procedures by the government has yet to occur. We had a meeting yesterday between the UN team and Deputy Foreign Minister Mekdad. I have personally addressed these issues with the Syrian Government during my visit to Damascus last week and I will continue to follow these matters closely, because of their vital importance and follow-up to Munich.  
 
Regarding the Cessation of Hostilities and Ceasefire Task Force, Mr. President, Members of the Council, less than three hours ago I joined the Russian and US co-chairs at the first meeting of the Cease fire Task Force in this very room.   In the presence of ISSG members, the two co-chairs, who have been working all week with partners and reaching out to the parties on the ground, outlined the terms of the Cessation of Hostilities announced on 22 February in a joint press release by the Russian Federation and the United States. The two co-chairs today noted that the principal Syrian parties have announced their willingness to participate in the cessation of hostilities beginning 00:00, Damascus time, which basically less than an hour from now.
11.       Armed opposition groups have announced their commitment to: 1) fully implement resolution 2254 and participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiations – this time we want them to stay there, and not leave at least until the end of the first phase;  2) cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles, against the Syrian Armed – and any associated- Forces; 3) refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the agreement; 4) allow humanitarian access; 5) use proportionate force (i.e., no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
12.       On the other hand, the Syrian Armed, and associated forces, committed to abide to exactly the same points. This means ceasing attacks with any weapons, including aerial bombardments by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces, against the armed opposition groups and parties to the cessation of hostilities.
13.       The Ceasefire Task Force will oversee the cessation of hostilities. Under the co-chairmanship of Russia and the United States, its primary functions include: (a) delineation of territory held by Daesh, Jabhat al Nusra and other terrorist organisations designated by the Security Council –which are not part of the cessation of hostilities; (b) communications to promote compliance and de-escalation of tensions; (c) assessment of the nature and credibility of incoming non-compliance reports to determine response measures; (d) determining and addressing patterns of persistent non-compliance, before referring the matter to the senior official or higher level.  The OSE will support this effort in its Secretariat capacity, and through a “Permanent Alert” centre – better described as operations centre –  which will be fielding and disseminating information to the co-chairs and the wider ISSG.  We – the UN – are in turn not expected to characterise, assess and/or deconflict information received, a function that  shall remain with the co-chairs, which is the Russian Federation and US, in consultation with other ISSG members.
14.            The cessation of hostilities agreement, preceded by lengthy and detailed discussions in Geneva and in capitals, and the outcome of intense consultations and negotiations, including at the highest level, is in itself a major achievement. I think the Security Council will recognize this. The communication of their commitment by the Syrian parties essential in ending the war, is an important step. 
15.            Task Force members today agreed to reach out to respective contacts among Syrian parties to explain the functioning of the Task Force, ensure confidentiality of discussions within the taskforce itself, and refrain from making public comments about non-compliance reports being reviewed - in order to give time for that noncompliance to be addressed. My Office, as Secretariat of the Taskforce, will, on the Taskforce’s behalf, issue periodic public briefings on the status of the cessation of hostilities. The current resolution also sets clear reporting requirements. Other parts of the UN system retain the ability to comment on the situation in Syria within their respective mandates.
 
Mr. President, Council members,
16.            The initial indication of consent by the parties to the conflict is encouraging, but what we need is for the parties to abide by the terms of the agreement.  Much work now lies ahead to ensure its implementation, and the international community, the ISSG and the Syrian parties must remain steadfast in their resolve. Today’s resolution, which we hope will be coming, will be a further manifestation of the ISSG commitment to deliver the parties to this agreement. Saturday will be critical. Tomorrow. In fact, from midnight. No doubt there will be no shortage of attempts to undermine this process. We are ready for it and we should not be pressed, and address it realising it is part of the cessation of hostilities. The onus remains with the co-chairs, the relevant members of the Ceasefire Takskforce and all of us to work fast to defuse tensions from potential cross-wiring and disinformation and incidents. Parties would need to demonstrate restraint in the cases where there is still discrepancies of information on the presence and affiliation of groups. Daraya is a case in point. On our part we will do all we can to support this important effort. My teams both in Geneva and Damascus will be on rotating duty as of midnight tonight to follow-up on this. 
 
Mr. President,
17.            In adopting resolution 2254, this Council made it abundantly clear that only a negotiated political solution can bring an end to this horrible five-year conflict. The resolution also acknowledges the close link between a nationwide ceasefire and a parallel political process. Confidence in the political process will indeed – we all know it and people in Syria have been reminding us -, increase the prospect of a ceasefire; in turn, a reduction in violence would help create conditions conducive for negotiations.  Progress on a cessation of hostilities will drastically improve the conditions on the ground, leading to significant scaling up of humanitarian delivery across Syria.
18.            As the Secretary-General concluded in his letter to the Council, the agreements reached in Munich present a precious opportunity for the early and credible resumption of intra- Syrian talks. Assuming, therefore, the cessation of hostilities largely holds  and that humanitarian access continue unabated, I intend to reconvene the talks, based on consultations with the Secretary-General and hopefully with your approval, on 7 March, with the same representatives of the Syrian government and opposition, as well as the group of individuals associated with the Moscow and Cairo meetings.
19.            As I told the parties from the onset of talks on 29 January, the agenda remains the same, based on resolution 2254, which aims for a comprehensive political settlement through negotiations on a political transition process pursuant to the Geneva Communiqué.   It is my intention to focus on the core issues, as defined by you in this resolution 2254: securing agreement on a credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance; a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution; and elements/schedule for the holding of fair and free parliamentary and presidential elections on the basis of the new constitution. We need to build on the momentum which has emerged since Munich to help the parties reaching an agreement on these matters within the shortest time possible.  I count on the ISSG, but also the Security Council, to help ensure that the parties come to Geneva again, ready this time to engage on the substantive issues.  I hope that the resolution you may be adopting soon will be a good signal in that direction.
20.            While the primary focus of the talks is on governance, I also intend to ensure pressing issues, or confidence-building aspects, that matter most to the Syrians continue to be addressed, including the release of any arbitrarily detained persons, among which women and children, and people kept hostage. 
21.            I am also bound, per resolution 2254, to ensure the participation of the broadest spectrum of Syrians.  As I mentioned in my last briefing, in addition to representatives of the government and opposition, I consulted and will continue to consult with civil society and women, and will continue this practice.  They make a remarkable contribution to our work.  Since the recess of the talks, both the Civil Society Support room, a platform aimed at facilitating the participation of civil society organisations here in Geneva, and Syrian Women’s Advisory Board have continued their preparations.  They will help me to do my job. Furthermore, UN Women, which has worked closely with us over recent months, has seconded a gender adviser to my office to support both my work and that of the Women’s Advisory Board.  
In conclusion, Mr. President, Members of the Council,
22.            We have so far together maintained the ISSG momentum. It now needs to be sustained. Both Task Forces are making progress. Let’s admit it. Not enough, but progress. That was unimaginable only two months ago. The outcomes from both are first steps, but a first step towards sustained and unimpeded access throughout Syria; and a first step towards a more durable nationwide hopefully ceasefire.  I cannot over emphasise how important determined and sustained political will is to the good faith implementation of this cessation of hostilities for making this agreement hold.
23.       On humanitarian issues, it is essential not to lose focus. Our position remains clear: all sieges must end, the UN and other humanitarian partners must be granted unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access without preconditions and civilians must be allowed freedom of movement. The ongoing support of the ISSG, and this Council, remains therefore critical.
24.       As for the cessation of hostilities, as we hope it will be respected, it will not only create conditions conducive for the resumption of meaningful negotiations, but it will above all send a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end and hope to ending to their suffering. These are all sentiments reinforced by ISSG members in today’s meeting and soon endorsed – I hope - by your own Security Council, once approved.
25.       On all this aspects, the UN is there to support. All should do their share. We will do ours, the Secretary-General confirmed it. Critical fault lines are being addressed now, carefully and cautiously - be it which groups participate in the cessation of hostilities or which areas are accessed and how and which priority basis. This will remain a complicated and painstaking process, but we should not give up – since nothing is impossible, especially at this moment.    
26.       Going forward, I will continue to heavily count on the ISSG to resolve any ambiguities related to the talks as they arise and will keep you fully informed of progress. 
 
Mr. President,
27.            Resolution 2254 was a ray of hope – a moment, and a moment that still continues, of hope. It expressed unanimously the international community’s grave concern at the continued suffering of the Syrians, the persistent and brutal violence and the perverse impact of terrorism and violent extremist ideology. 
28.            We are now at a crossroads –we have the possibility to turn the page in the Syrian conflict – after almost 5 years of one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent years.   It is potentially, a historic junction - to bring an end to the killing and destruction and to start a new life and new hope for the Syrians.  Thank you very much.

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Resolution 2268 on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

United States of America: draft resolution


The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2235 (2015), 2249 (2015), 2253 (2015), 2254 (2015), and 2258 (2015) and Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011 (S/PRST/2011/16), 21 March 2012 (S/PRST/2012/6), 5 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/10), 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15), 24 April 2015 (S/PRST/2015/10) and 17 August 2015 (S/PRST/2015/15),
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Recognizing the efforts of the Secretary-General in implementing resolution 2254 (2015) and noting, through his good offices and by his Special Envoy for Syria, the launch of the formal negotiations on a political transition process, consistent with paragraph 2 of resolution 2254 (2015), on 29 January 2016,
Commending the commitment of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 in its entirety and to immediately facilitate the full implementation of resolution 2254 (2015), and emphasizing the urgency for all parties in Syria to work diligently and constructively towards this goal,
Welcoming the ISSG statement of 11 February 2016, including the establishment of an ISSG humanitarian task force and an ISSG ceasefire task force,
1. Endorses in full the Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria of 22 February 2016 and the Terms for the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria (hereafter referred to as “the Annex”) attached to the Statement, and demands the cessation of hostilities to begin at 00:00 (Damascus time) on 27 February 2016;
2. Demands the full and immediate implementation of resolution 2254 (2015) to facilitate a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué as set forth in the ISSG Statements, in order to end the conflict in Syria, and stresses again that the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria;
3. Demands that all parties to whom the cessation of hostilities applies as set forth in the Annex (hereafter referred to as the “parties to the cessation of hostilities”) fulfil their commitments laid out in the Annex, and urges all Member States, especially ISSG members, to use their influence with the parties to the cessation of hostilities to ensure fulfillment of those commitments and to support efforts to create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire;
4. Recognizes the efforts of the Russian Federation and the United States to reach understanding on the Terms of the Cessation of Hostilities, and acknowledges and welcomes that the forces of the Syrian government and those supporting it, as communicated to the Russian Federation, and the Syrian armed opposition groups, as communicated to the Russian Federation or the United States, have accepted and committed to abide by the Terms of the Cessation of Hostilities, and as such are now parties to it;
5. Reiterates its call on the parties to immediately allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria by most direct routes, allow immediate, humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, in particular in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and immediately comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable;
6. Expresses support for the ISSG initiative, coordinated through the ISSG humanitarian working group, to accelerate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid, with the view towards the full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country, including to Deir ez Zor, Foah, Kafraya, Az-Zabadani, Madaya/Bqin, Darayya, Madamiyet Elsham, Duma, East Harasta, Arbin, Zamalka, Kafr Batna, Ein Terma, Hammuria, Jisrein, Saqba, Zabadin, Yarmuk, eastern and western rural Aleppo, Azaz, Afrin, At Tall, Rastan, Talbiseh, Al Houle, Tier Malah/Al Gantho/Der Kabira, Al Waer, Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham;
7. Reaffirms its support for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations, requests the Secretary-General, through his good offices and the efforts of his Special Envoy for Syria, to resume the formal negotiations between the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition, under the auspices of the United Nations, as soon as possible, and urges the representatives of the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to engage in good faith in these negotiations;
8. Welcomes the cessation of hostilities as a step towards a lasting ceasefire and reaffirms the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process, pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communique, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously as expressed in resolution 2254 (2015);
9. Calls on all states to use their influence with the government of Syria and the Syrian opposition to advance the peace process, confidence building measures, including the early release of any arbitrarily detained persons, particularly women and children, and implementation of the cessation of hostilities;
10. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution, including by drawing on information provided by the ISSG ceasefire taskforce, and of resolution 2254 (2015), within 15 days of the adoption of this resolution and every 30 days thereafter;

 11. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Security Council Calls on Syrians to Resume Talks ASAP

Draft press statement on terrorist attacks in Syria

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Homs and Damascus, Syria, on 21 February, for which Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) claimed responsibility, during which more than 130 people were killed and hundreds injured. They expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic. They also wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their grave concern that ISIL, foreign terrorist fighters who have joined ISIL in Syria, groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIL, Al Nusra Front (ANF), and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida continue operating in Syria, and condemned the negative impact of their presence, violent extremist ideology and actions on the stability of Syria, neighbouring countries and the region, with a devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian populations. They stressed that all Member States shall fully comply with their obligations under resolution 2178 (2014).

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and stressed that those responsible for these terrorist attacks should be held accountable.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

The members of the Security Council stressed the need to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, terrorist organizations and individual terrorists in accordance with resolutions 2199 (2015) and 2253 (2015).

The members of the Security Council expressed their full support for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, and underscored the need for the full implementation of the Munich Statement of the ISSG of 11 February 2016, the United Nations Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), the Vienna Statements of 30 October and 14 November 2015, and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.

The members of the Security Council also called for the resumption of negotiations between the parties under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible and for allowing immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas.


The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Syria.
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Monday, February 22, 2016

US - Russia Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

(From US State Department  website) 


The United States of America and the Russian Federation, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and seeking to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis with full respect for the fundamental role of the United Nations, are fully determined to provide their strongest support to end the Syrian conflict and establish conditions for a successful Syrian-led political transition process, facilitated by the UN, in order to fully implement the Munich Statement of the ISSG on February 11th, 2016, UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the 2015 Vienna Statements and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.

In this regard, and in furtherance of the February 11th decisions of the ISSG, the United States and Russia, as co-chairs of the ISSG and ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, announce the adoption on February 22, 2016, of the Terms for a Cessation of Hostilities in Syria attached as an Annex to this statement, and propose that the cessation of hostilities commence at 00:00 (Damascus time) on February 27, 2016. The cessation of hostilities is to be applied to those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of its terms. Consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the statements of the ISSG, the cessation of hostilities does not apply to “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.

Any party engaged in military or para-military hostilities in Syria, other than “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council will indicate to the Russian Federation or the United States, as co-chairs of the ISSG, their commitment to and acceptance of the terms for the cessation of hostilities by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26, 2016. In order to implement the cessation of hostilities in a manner that promotes stability and protects those parties participating in it, the Russian Federation and the United States are prepared to work together to exchange pertinent information (e.g., aggregated data that delineates territory where groups that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of the cessation of hostilities are active, and a focal point for each side, in order to ensure effective communication) and develop procedures necessary for preventing parties participating in the cessation of hostilities from being attacked by Russian Armed Forces, the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition, the Armed Forces of the Syrian government and other forces supporting them, and other parties to the cessation of hostilities. Military actions, including airstrikes, of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Armed Forces, and the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition will continue against ISIL, “Jabhat al-Nusra,” and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council. The Russian Federation and United States will also work together, and with other members of the Ceasefire Task Force, as appropriate and pursuant to the ISSG decision of February 11, 2016, to delineate the territory held by "Daesh," "Jabhat al-Nusra" and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council, which are excluded from the cessation of hostilities.

In order to promote the effective implementation of the cessation of hostilities, the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, co-chaired by the United States and Russia, has been established under UN auspices, including political and military officials from the co-chairs and other Task Force members; the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE) serves as secretariat. The primary functions of the Task Force are, as provided in the ISSG Statement of February 11, to: a) delineate the territory held by “Daesh”, “Jabhat-al-Nusra” and other terrorist organizations designated by the United Nations Security Council; b) ensure communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions; c) resolve allegations of non-compliance; and d) refer persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties to the ISSG Ministers or those designated by the Ministers to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements of the cessation of hostilities, and the protection it affords them.

The United States and Russia are prepared, in their capacities as co-chairs of the Ceasefire Task Force and in coordination with other members of the ISSG Ceasefire Task Force as appropriate, to develop effective mechanisms to promote and monitor compliance with the ceasefire both by the governmental forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and other forces supporting them, and the armed opposition groups. To achieve this goal and to promote an effective and sustainable cessation of hostilities, the Russian Federation and the United States will establish a communication hotline and, if necessary and appropriate, a working group to exchange relevant information after the cessation of hostilities has gone into effect. In addressing incidents of non-compliance, every effort should be made to promote communications among all parties to restore compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions, and non-forcible means should be exhausted whenever possible before resorting to use of force. The United States and Russia as co-chairs of ISSG Ceasefire Task Force will develop such further modalities and standard operating procedures as may be necessary to implement these functions.

The United States and the Russian Federation together call upon all Syrian parties, regional states and others in the international community to support the immediate cessation of violence and bloodshed in Syria and to contribute to the swift, effective and successful promotion of the UN-facilitated political transition process in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254, the February 11 Statement of the ISSG, the 2015 Vienna statements of the ISSG, and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.

ANNEX
TERMS FOR CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES IN SYRIA
The nationwide cessation of hostilities is to apply to any party currently engaged in military or paramilitary hostilities against any other parties other than “Daesh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.
The responsibilities of the Syrian armed opposition are set out in paragraph 1 below. The responsibilities of the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and all forces supporting or associated with the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic are set out in paragraph 2 below.
1.  To take part in the cessation of hostilities, armed opposition groups will confirm – to the United States of America or the Russian Federation, who will attest such confirmations to one another as co-chairs of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26 2016 – their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
  • To full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, ‑ including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;
     
  • To cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles, against Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and any associated forces;
     
  • To refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the ceasefire;
     
  • To allow humanitarian agencies, rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained access throughout areas under their operational control and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need;
     
  • To proportionate use of force (i.e., no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
2.  The above-mentioned commitments will be observed by such armed opposition groups, provided that the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and all forces supporting or associated with the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic have confirmed to the Russian Federation as co-chair of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26, 2016 their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
  • To full implementation of UN Security Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;
     
  • To cease attacks with any weapons, including aerial bombardments by the Air Force of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation, against the armed opposition groups (as confirmed to the United States or the Russian Federation by parties to the cessation of hostilities);
     
  • To refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the ceasefire;
     
  • To allow humanitarian agencies, rapid, unhindered and sustained access throughout areas under their operational control and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need;
     
  • To proportionate use of force (i.e., no greater than required to address an immediate threat) if and when responding in self-defense.
The Russian Federation and the United States, as co-chairs of the ISSG and ISSG Ceasefire Task Force, are prepared to work together to ensure effective communications and develop procedures necessary for preventing parties participating in the cessation of hostilities from being attacked by Russian Armed Forces, the U.S.-led Counter ISIL Coalition, the Armed Forces of the Syrian government and other forces supporting them, and other parties to the cessation of hostilities.
All parties further commit to work for the early release of detainees, particularly women and children.

Any party can bring a violation or potential violation of the cessation of hostilities to the attention of the Task Force, either through the OSE or the co-chairs. The OSE and Co-Chairs will establish liaison arrangements with each other and the parties, and inform the public generally about how any party may bring a violation to the attention of the Task Force.
The United States and the Russian Federation as co-chairs confirm that the cessation of hostilities will be monitored in an impartial and transparent manner and with broad media coverage.
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Russian Draft Resolution on Turkish "Plans for Foreign Ground Intervention into Syria"

The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2249 (2015) and 2254 (2015),
Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Strongly condemning continued cross-border shelling of the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as incessant flow of foreign terrorist fighters, the incursion of military personnel and the illegal movement of weapons and related materiel in contravention of its relevant resolutions and with complicity or direct involvement of some States including Syria's neighbors,
Expressing its grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Reiterating that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process as set forth in its resolution 2254, the Joint Statement on the outcome of the multilateral talks on Syria in Vienna of 30 October 2015 and the Statements of the International Syria Support Group of 14 November 2015 and 12 February 2016,
  1. Strongly demands to fully respect the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic and immediately halt any cross-border shelings and incursions as well as abandon all attempts or plans for foreign ground intervention into the Syrian territory,
  1. Demands to refrain from provocative rhetoric and inflammatory statements inciting further violence and interference into internal affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic,
  1. Reaffirms that all States shall prevent and suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and the illegal movement of weapons and related materiel into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, 
  2. 4. Decides that all States shall commit to and unconditionally implement the provisions of its resolution 2254 (2015) in order to facilitate the efforts aimed at bringing an end to the Syrian conflict. 
  3. 5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Munich ISSG statement on Syria

Statement of the International Syria Support Group

Meeting in Munich on February 11 & 12, 2016, as the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the Arab League, China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States decided that humanitarian access will commence this week to besieged areas, and an ISSG task force will within one week elaborate modalities for a nationwide cessation of hostilities.

The ISSG members unanimously committed to immediately facilitate the full implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously December 18, 2015. The ISSG reaffirmed their readiness to carry out all commitments set forth in the resolution, including to: ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué in its entirety; press for the end of any indiscriminate use of weapons; support and accelerate the agreement and implementation of a nationwide ceasefire; facilitate immediate humanitarian access to besieged and hard-to-reach areas and the release of any arbitrarily detained persons; and fight terrorism.

Ensuring Humanitarian Access

In order to accelerate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid, sustained delivery of assistance shall begin this week by air to Deir Ez Zour and simultaneously to Fouah, Kafrayah, the besieged areas of Rural Damascus, Madaya, Mouadhimiyeh, and Kafr Batna by land, and continue as long as humanitarian needs persist. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country. 

The members of the ISSG will use their influence with all parties on the ground to work together, in coordination with the United Nations, to ensure that all parties allow immediate and sustained humanitarian access to reach all people in need, throughout Syria, particularly in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, as called for in UNSCR 2254. To this end, the UN will submit a plan to an ISSG humanitarian task force, which shall convene on February 12 and next week. This group will comprise the ISSG co-chairs, relevant UN entities and members of the ISSG with influence on the parties in a position to ensure humanitarian access.

The ISSG reaffirmed that humanitarian access should not benefit any particular group over any other, but shall be granted by all sides to all people in need, in full compliance with UNSCR 2254 and international humanitarian law. The ISSG asks the UN to report weekly, on behalf of the task force, on progress on the implementation of the plan referenced above, so that in any cases where access lags or approvals are lacking, relevant ISSG members will use their influence to press the requested party/parties to provide that approval. There will be a process for resolving any problems so that relief can flow expeditiously. Any questions about access or delivery will be resolved through the task force.

All ISSG members commit to immediately work together with the Syrian parties to ensure no delay in the granting of approval and completion of all pending UN requests for access in accordance with UNSCR 2254, paragraph 12. 
                   
ISSG co-chairs and members will ensure that aid convoys are used solely for humanitarian purposes. International humanitarian organizations, in particular the United Nations, will play the central role, as they engage the Syrian government, the opposition and local populations, in arranging the monitoring and sustained and uninterrupted distribution of aid.

Achieving a Nationwide Cessation of Hostilities 

The ISSG members agreed that a nationwide cessation of hostilities must be urgently implemented, and should apply to any party currently engaged in military or paramilitary hostilities against any other parties other than Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, or other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council. The ISSG members commit to exercise influence for an immediate and significant reduction in violence leading to the nationwide cessation of hostilities.


The ISSG members decided to take immediate steps to secure the full support of all parties to the conflict for a cessation of hostilities, and in furtherance of that have established an ISSG ceasefire task force, under the auspices of the UN, co-chaired by Russia and the United States, and including political and military officials, with the participation of ISSG members with influence on the armed opposition groups or forces fighting in support of the Syrian government. The UN shall serve as the secretariat of the ceasefire task force. 

The cessation of hostilities will commence in one week, after confirmation by the Syrian government and opposition, following appropriate consultations in Syria.  During that week, the ISSG task force will develop modalities for the cessation of hostilities. 


The ISSG task force will, among other responsibilities continue to: a) delineate the territory held by Daesh, ANF and other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council; b) ensure effective communications among all parties to promote compliance and rapidly de-escalate tensions; c) resolve allegations of non-compliance; and d) refer persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties to ISSG Ministers, or those designatied by the Ministers, to determine appropriate action, including the exclusion of such parties from the arrangements for the cessation of hostilities and the protection it affords them. 
Although a cessation of hostilities can facilitate humanitarian access, it cannot be a precondition for such access anywhere in Syria. 
                                                                                    
The ISSG decided that all members will undertake their best efforts, in good faith, to sustain the cessation of hostilities and delivery of humanitarian assistance, and take measures to stop any activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2170, 2178, 2199, 2249, 2253, and 2254. The ISSG again expressed concern for the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the imperative of building conditions for their safe return in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law and taking into account the interests of host countries.

Advancing a Political Transition

The members of the ISSG reaffirmed the imperative of all sides engaging in negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations as soon as possible, in strict compliance with United Nations Security Council 2254. They reaffirmed that it is for the Syrian people to decide the future of Syria. The members of the ISSG pledge to do all they can to facilitate rapid progress in these negotiations, including the reaching of agreement within six months on a political transition plan that establishes credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance and sets a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution, free and fair elections, pursuant to the new constitution, to be held within 18 months and administered under supervision of the United Nations, to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate. 

Full implementation of these objectives will require the ISSG co-chairs and members, the UN and others, to work closely on political, humanitarian, and military dimensions.