International Syria Support Group Statement
ISSG members further agreed to implement a nationwide ceasefire in Syria as soon as representatives of Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps toward transition under UN auspices. The permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council also agreed to support a UNSC resolution to empower a UN-endorsed ceasefire monitoring mission and to support a political transition process in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué.
ISSG agreed on the need to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations under UN auspices, as soon as possible, with a target date of January 1.
It was also agreed that all parties to the political process should adhere to fundamental principles of Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character; to ensure that State institutions remain intact; and to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination.
ISSG will reconvene in a month.
The meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) resumed in Vienna today, as the foreign ministers participating in negotiations set aside their differences at least temporarily and condemned Paris attacks. Secretary of State John Kerry, standing next to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks “encouraged us today to do even harder work to make progress and to help resolve the crises that we face.” Lavrov added, “No justification for terrorist acts, and no justification for us not doing much more to defeat ISIL and al-Nusra and the like. I hope this meeting as well would allow us to move forward.” (Reurers, 14 November)
Back on the negotiation table, the foreign minsters will tackle their key differences, including the formation of a transition government in Syria, Assad’s role in the transition, if any, and which groups fighting the regime should be included in the transition, and which groups should be excluded as terrorists.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who did not plan to attend today’s talks, and instead were to accompany President Rouhani on a visit to Rome and Paris, changed his schedule after Rouhani’s visits were postponed after Paris attacks, and has now left Tehran for Vienna to attend the afternoon session of the talks.
Photo: Syria Talks; Vienna, 14 November 2015 (Reuters)