Arab states could resolve Syria crisis, says UN special envoy

Arab states could resolve Syria crisis, says UN special envoy
Geir Pedersen says he remains positive about the possibility of peace. (FILE/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 28 April 2023

Arab states could resolve Syria crisis, says UN special envoy

Arab states could resolve Syria crisis, says UN special envoy
  • Leadership of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE highlighted
  • Geir Pedersen remains positive about the possibility of peace

NEW YORK CITY: Arab nations can play a leading role in finding a political solution to the conflict and humanitarian aid crisis in Syria, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

Speaking at a special briefing of the UN Security Council on Thursday, Pederson said that despite all the challenges — which includes the effect of the recent devastating earthquakes — there were positive signs of a way forward.

Pederson highlighted the roles currently being played by leaders of several Arab states including from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE. 

There have been several high-profile meetings with Syria’s president Bashar Assad to reestablish diplomatic ties, and possibly also see the country regaining its membership of the Arab League.

“I continue to stress that the political solution is the only way to end the suffering of the Syrian people and (find a way) towards stability, security, and peace,” said Pederson.

He said he continues to push for a “Syrian-led” and “Syrian-owned” political process, and that collective effort was needed to find long-lasting solutions.

“I am ready to facilitate the way forward in a step by step reported and verifiable manner consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”

Resolution 2254 affirmed in 2015 the independence and sovereignty of Syria and called for a Syrian-led process that will end the conflict and meet the legitimate aspirations of its people.

The UAE’s representative Mohamed Issa Abu Shahab emphasized that “Arab diplomacy” remained a key part of a resolution for Syria.

He said the recent consultative meeting of representatives from the GCC, along with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, highlighted the need for Arab-led efforts.

Pederson noted in his report the continued violence between the regime’s forces and groups that control swaths of Syrian territory in the north and northwest. He added that Israeli airstrikes on targets inside Syria have become more frequent.

He said the Syrian people need urgent support. “After the earthquake and 12 years of war, Syria remains (in) a humanitarian crisis.”

The UN has already collected $384 million to help Syria’s people for its flash appeal, according to Lisa Doughten, resource mobilization director for the UN humanitarian coordination office.

However, the Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan remains severely underfunded because only $363 million has so far been collected out of a total of $4.8 billion needed before the earthquakes — making the Brussels Conference in June vital for the country, said Doughten.