Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Brahimi's statement on first preparatory meeting in Geneva

Statement by Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi 
Geneva, 5 June 2013
The purpose of the trilateral meeting today between the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Nations was to build on the important step forward made on the 7th May 2013 between Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Kerry in Moscow.
I am grateful to Deputy Ministers Bogdanov and Gatilov, and Under-Secretary of State Sherman, and their delegations, for coming to Geneva today, to discuss with us the necessary preparations for convening an international conference on Syria. I am very happy with the constructive nature of our discussions today and I believe we have made further positive steps towards the convening of a conference.
We all firmly agreed that a political solution to the crisis in Syria is the only solution possible, and is extremely urgent. The catastrophe on the ground is alarming and I think you know as much about it as I do, if not more. That tragedy has got to come to an end, for the sake of Syria and its people.
Evidently, there is still a lot of work to do to bring a conference about. For this reason, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to hold this conference in June. We will be continuing our consultations with Russia and the United States to see about windows of opportunity to hold the conference as soon as possible – hopefully, in July. We will work intensively over the next few weeks, and we will meet again here in Geneva on the 25th June.
We have agreed that the “Geneva Conference on Syria” will be held under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The Russian Federation and the United States, being the initiating states of this conference, will play an important role throughout the process.
The goal of the conference will be to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Syria through a comprehensive agreement between the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for the full implementation of the Action Group Communique of the 30th of June 2012, and in particular, all aspects of the Agreed Principles and Guidelines for a Syrian-led transition which it contains and these are, I think, the words that came into through that Communique.
Central to this exercise, as also specified in the 30th of June 2012 Communique, is the creation by mutual consent of a Transitional Governing body, which would exercise full executive powers.
The conference would begin with a high-level meeting over two days for the non-Syrian participants as well as delegations representing the Syrian Government and the Syrian opposition, and that part will be chaired and opened by the Secretary-General. That first segment of the conference would be followed by intensive negotiations between the two Syrian parties, which I would facilitate.
I very much welcome the support Russia and the United States have committed to provide for my efforts throughout that process. I will be fully counting on them and on many others in the very difficult work ahead. I look forward to continuing consultations with a wide range of interlocutors in addition to the Russians and the Americans to build the momentum that we have started here today.
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