with Major-General Robert Mood, head of UNSMIS
Geneva, 22 June 2012
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has been a long time that I haven’t been back in this room but it is good to meet you here this afternoon. And I am happy to be able to join you this afternoon with General Mood whom you all know. I am pleased that he could join us. He is on his way back from New York to Syria.
As you would all remember, about a week ago, General Mood had to take a difficult decision when he decided temporarily to suspend the activities of the UN Mission in Syria due to the escalation of violence. And I must say I supported that decision fully.
UN observers, as we all know, are in Syria to help the Syrian people at this critical hour. In the short time that they have been there, they have engaged not just with the parties, but with communities at all levels of society in the cities and towns where they have been deployed. They are keen to resume their work. Their commitment to the Syrian people has not faltered. But the circumstances must allow them to do their work. And we all know that they are unarmed men and women who are doing courageous work.
This can only happen when the protagonists on the ground take the strategic decision to stop the violence and to cooperate fully with the observers.
I urge all parties to heed the call for a cessation of violence in all its forms, first and foremost for the sake of the Syrian people, the children and women in particular. I think they have suffered for far too long and continue to suffer.
But if our efforts are to succeed, we shall need the united and sustained support of the international community. This is essential.
And that is why over the last few days, I have been in intensive consultations with a number of ministers and officials in capitals around the world about the possibility of convening a meeting of ministers to discuss what further actions could be taken to implement the Security Council resolutions.
It is time for countries of influence to raise the level of pressure on the parties on the ground, and to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop the killing and start talking.
When I briefed the Security Council, last time, actually earlier this month, I said: as we move forward, we should keep our goals firmly in view: to stop the killing, help the suffering population, secure a political transition, and ensure that the crisis does not spread to the neighbours.
The longer we wait, the darker Syria’s future becomes. This process cannot be open-ended. It is urgent that our consultations yield real results soon. Otherwise, I fear we are reaching the day when it will be too late to stop the crisis from spiraling out of control.
The time to act is now.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. We will take your questions.