The political track has failed in Syria, no joint declaration by the UN Security Council

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On Tuesday, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a joint declaration on Syria, at the end of a day of negotiations marked by the UN envoy’s call to the international community to overcome its divisions to revive the political process in a stall in this country.

Agence France Press (AFP) said, citing its diplomatic sources, that Russia has repeatedly obstructed negotiations to reach a joint declaration, although it was not possible to obtain comment from the Russian diplomatic mission to the United Nations on the reasons for the failure of the discussions. The news confirms that the political track has failed to find a solution to the prolonged Syrian conflict.

In Syria, fighting continue incessantly for ten years. Half a million dead, 12 million displaced. Towns and villages turned into permanent heaps of rubble. Schools bombed, with children inside, same fate for hospitals and open-air markets. A devastated country, scarred far beyond the limit of the tolerable. 90% of the population, the UN estimates, is in conditions of extreme poverty. The economy is in free fall, inflation is out of control. Corruption is rampant. There is no more bread to eat or fuel to warm up.

While the pandemic is spreading far beyond official numbers, with a health system that simply no longer exists: there are no machines, there are no doctors or nurses. The few remaining beds are perpetually occupied. It is surreal to imagine the existence of adequate supplies of masks or tampons: there is no oxygen, there is even no drinking water. A situation that is not described as dramatic. And the end of the tunnel is still not visible.

Yesterday, at the end of the Security Council in videoconference, the UN envoy Gere Pedersen declared that “the current divisions of the international community must be overcome”. And she felt that there is “a need to adopt constructive international diplomacy on Syria”. Without this, the chances of real progress on the constitutional road remain a utopia.The meeting of the Constitutional Committee failed, as did the monthly session of the Security Council to discuss the Syrian file.

Pedersen admitted that this meeting, which he organized with representatives of the regime, the opposition, and civil society at the end of January, which is the fifth of the Constitutional Committee, was a “missed opportunity” and a “disappointment.” He explained that some have suggested continuing to use the same mechanism, while others have called for a complete change in the frequency and duration of meetings and the definition of a timetable.

Pedersen felt that there is a “lack of confidence and intention to settle, as well as the political space available to make settlements”, expressing his hope to visit Damascus soon and attend the next Astana Group meeting to be held in Sochi, in Russia.The Constitutional Committee is charged with reviewing Syria’s 2012 constitution. It was formed in September 2019 and held its first meeting a month later in Geneva, in the presence of 150 people. The small committee then instructed to work on the details. The Constitutional Committee has achieved nothing in 18 months, and the Moscow-backed Syrian regime continues to procrastinate.

The constitutional revision is included in Security Council Resolution 2254, passed in December 2015, and also provides for elections under the supervision of the United Nations. All this remains for now only a mirage, while the population continues to suffer.

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