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‘No preconditions’ accepted from Syrian parties, UN envoy says ahead of Geneva talks

‘No preconditions’ accepted from Syrian parties, UN envoy says ahead of Geneva talks

India Blooms News Service | | 28 Nov 2017, 04:16 am

New York, Nov 28(Just Earth News): Ahead of fresh intra-Syrian talks on Tuesday in Geneva, the United Nations mediator said on Monday that the crisis now has the potential to move towards “a genuine political process.”

“International players are clearly looking for some common ground based on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), and are urging Syrians to begin to find some common ground too,” UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told a Security Council meeting in New York via video link from Geneva.

As mandated by resolution 2254, the talks focus on governance, a schedule and process to draft a new constitution and the holding of elections as the basis for a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned process to end the conflict.

de Mistura said that in preparing for the eighth round of intra-Syrian talks, he called for “real” diplomacy, with his messages focused on several points, such as that the Government and a united opposition should engage in negotiations in Geneva without any preconditions and that all other initiatives should support this UN mediation process.

He noted that some important meetings have recently taken place in Viet Nam’s DaNang, Russia’s Sochi, and Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh that might help the Geneva process.

In DaNang, Russian President Vladimir Putin and United States President Donald Trump affirmed that the political process “must include full implementation of Council resolution 2254.

In Sochi, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed, after meeting President Putin, his intention to “talk with anyone who is really interested in a political settlement.”

de Mistura, however, noted the Government has not yet confirmed its participation in the new round of the UN-facilitated Geneva talks.

In Riyadh, an expanded opposition conference was convened last week, with all three groups mentioned in resolution 2254 present. The Syrian Negotiations Commission formed in Riyadh is travelling to Geneva.

United support of international community and Security Council, vital for progress

"Assuming that both parties arrive in Geneva, we will be looking to move them into beginning serious discussions and hopefully negotiations. Let me make one thing clear: we will not accept any preconditions from either party,” he said.

He also stressed that more than 200 civil society actors will be engaged in the UN-led political process in Geneva over the next weeks.

He said he is invited to participate in a preparatory meeting on Tuesday that France organized to bring together representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States – in Geneva.

As for a large gathering on Syria in the near future that Russia is planning, de Mistrua said it is premature for him to say anything about that initiative.

“I will continue to view this proposal and all other initiatives through the same prism: does it contribute to effective UN-led intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva to implement resolution 2254,” he said.

Syria has been at war for the last six years. Half of its population have fled their homes, and, according to the UN’s relief wing, some 13 million people require humanitarian aid, including nearly three million trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. Reconstruction will cost at least $250 billion.

“We see the emergence of international consensus, and we must begin to stitch the process into concrete results, enabling Syrians to determine their own future freely,” de Mistura said. “The united support of the international community, centred on this Council, will be vital if negotiations are to move forward in a concrete way.”

UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Source: www.justearthnews.com



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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm