Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on Syria —
We thank Special Envoy de Mistura, grazie Staffan, for his briefing and especially for his leadership in advancing the political process in very challenging circumstances.
After six years, violence and destruction continue to plague Syria and cause tremendous suffering to the Syrian people. With time, attacks against civilians have become – if at all possible – even more barbaric and despicable, as the horrific of use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in Khan Shaykhun showed last week.
Given the current, grave circumstances, a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people is needed now more than ever. We believe there is an opportunity to relaunch the faltering cessation of hostilities and reconsolidate the political process and bring this tragic crisis to an end, we have a collective responsibility.
In this regard let me recall the timely discussions which took place yesterday in the G7 ministerial meeting and then in the G7 enlarged to some key regional stakeholders. In both occasions, convened by Minister Alfano, all countries conveyed a strong message of support to the political process, and notably to the Geneva intra-Syrian negotiations and to the efforts of the Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.
We all need therefore to commit to a “diplomatic surge” to support the Geneva talks and advance the political process by swiftly implementing all steps agreed by this Council in resolution 2254.
As the negotiation moves to the substance of the issues, no rapid major breakthroughs can be expected. But we commend the UN Special Envoy for having kept the parties engaged to the process and committed to discussing the way forward in accordance with a defined agenda, in line with UNSCR 2254.
Efforts should now be redoubled by the parties to address in detail the substantive matters of the agenda. We have consistently encouraged the HNC to adopt a realistic and flexible attitude during the negotiations. Countries with influence on Damascus should now press the regime to engage seriously in the negotiations and avoid dilatory tactics
The Astana process gave an important contribution to the relaunch of the cessation of hostilities. However, the situation on the ground has been worsening again, putting a considerable strain on the truce. An effective cessation of hostilities must be pursued as a matter of priority. The Syrian regime has not renounced to achieve militarily territorial gains and the ceasefire continues to be violated by all parties. Humanitarian access is denied in besieged areas, notably by the regime: all parties must allow rapid, safe, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need throughout Syria. It is paramount that the co-garantors of the Astana process, and more generally the key international stakeholders, exert all their influence in this respect. Progress in Astana on the implementation of the ceasefire, humanitarian access and CBMs feed into the Geneva process, by creating an environment conducive to the political talks.
Finally, Madam President, let me underline that progress on the political track is also key to ensuring better and more effective international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Any effort to end the violent radicalization, extremism and terrorism needs to include a serious and genuine effort toward a peaceful transition and reconciliation process. Only a real political transition, we think, will eradicate terrorism from Syria.
I thank you, Madam President.