Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Syria
National statement delivered by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Middle East, Syria, 19 November 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
And thank you Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura for the update on the constitutional committee. We very much appreciate and support your tireless efforts to set up the committee before the end of the year.
We are deeply disappointed with Syria’s demonstrated lack of willingness to cooperate with the UN and with the Special Envoy on the political process, which is in breach with the Sochi agreement. The establishment of the constitutional committee, which was agreed in Sochi, is now long overdue. It is high time that those who initiated the committee, in particular Russia, intensify their efforts to ensure Syria’s full cooperation with the United Nations. The Astana guarantors must now also deliver on their commitments in support of the UN-led process.
High-level meetings in relevant formats show that there is now an international momentum that needs to be seized. As agreed in Istanbul, the constitutional committee should be in place before the end of the year, and invitations sent out by mid-December, as was mentioned by the Special Envoy. The Special Envoy has our full support in convening the constitutional committee within this deadline.
We fully support the Envoy’s efforts to ensure that the committee is credible, balanced and representative of the Syrian people, as also stated in the Sochi Final Statement, and that it includes a minimum of 30 percent women. His list of participants must now get the support needed, in particular by the Astana guarantors.
We reiterate that the Special Envoy has the mandate to establish the committee and decide on its composition. The Sochi final statement made clear that it was through the UN-led process that the final selection of the committee would be made.
We are encouraged that the agreement to cease hostilities in Idlib have held but there are now worrying signs of escalation. We therefore welcome the Istanbul Summit’s call for the ceasefire to be upheld, and we reiterate our expectations on the guarantors in this regard. The best way to prevent a risk for humanitarian disaster in Idlib is though ultimately by enabling genuine progress towards a political solution and ensure respect for international law.
Let me also reiterate that Sweden, like the rest of the EU, will not assist in the reconstruction of Syria until a political transition in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique, is firmly under way. And return of refugees must be safe, voluntary and dignified, and the conditions for this are clearly not in place today.
The Special Envoy needs the active backing of this Council. At this critical moment all members of this Council need to take a clear stand and deliver on their commitment to support the UN-led political process and the Special Envoy. We must step up our joint efforts to make sure that the constitutional committee will indeed convene before the end of the year. Only through a UN-led process can we achieve a sustainable political solution, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique, acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.
I thank you.