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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Action Group for Syria: Final Communiqué (Geneva 1)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left), Kofi Annan (second left)
and Secretary General of the Arab League 
Nabil al-Arabi. 
Action Group for Syria
Final Communiqué 30/06/2012

1. On 30 June 2012, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States), and the European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy met at the United Nations Office at Geneva as the Action Group for Syria, chaired by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria.
2. Action Group members came together out of grave alarm at the situation in Syria. They strongly condemn the continued and escalating killing, destruction and human rights abuses. They are deeply concerned at the failure to protect civilians, the intensification of the violence, the potential for even deeper conflict in the country, and the regional dimensions of the problem. The unacceptable nature and magnitude of the crisis demands a common position and joint international action.
3. Action Group members are committed to the sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity of Syria. They are determined to work urgently and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses and the launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future.
4. To secure these common objectives, the Action Group members (i) identified steps and measures by the parties to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms; (ii) agreed on guidelines and principles for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and (iii) agreed on actions they would take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process. They are convinced that this can encourage and support progress on the ground and will help to facilitate and support a Syrian-led transition.


Identified steps and measures by the parties to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms
5. The parties must fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043. To this end:
  A - All parties must re-commit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others. The government and armed opposition groups must cooperate with UNSMIS with a view to furthering the implementation of the above in accordance with its mandate.
  B - A cessation of armed violence must be sustained with immediate, credible and visible actions by the Government of Syria to implement the other items of the six-point plan including:
    a - Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities; provision without delay through appropriate channels of a list of all places in which such persons are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such locations; and the provision through appropriate channels of prompt responses to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons; 
    b - Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them; 
    c - Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.
  C - In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for UNSMIS’ safety and security and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects.
  D - In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full humanitarian access to humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave to do so. All parties must fully adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the protection of civilians.

Agreed Principles and Guide-lines for a Syrian-led transition
6. Action Group members agreed on the following ‘Principles and Guide-lines on a Syrian-led transition’:
Any political settlement must deliver to the people of Syria a transition that:
• Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in Syria;
• Establishes clear steps according to a firm time-table towards the realization of that perspective;
• Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all, stability and calm;
• Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.

I. Perspective for the Future 
The aspirations of the people of Syria have been clearly expressed by the wide range of Syrians consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a state that:
• Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections. This also means that the commitment to multi-party democracy must be a lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections.

• Complies with international standards on human rights, the independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in government and the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment. There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that these commitments are kept by those in authority.

• Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their rights will be respected.


II. Clear Steps in the Transition
The conflict in Syria will only end when all sides are assured that there is a peaceful way towards a common future for all in Syria. It is therefore essential that any settlement provides for clear and irreversible steps in the transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition include:
• The establishment of a transitional governing body which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place. That means that the transitional governing body would exercise full executive powers. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.

• It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in Syria must be enabled to participate in a National Dialogue process. That process must not only be inclusive, it must also be meaningful—that is to say, its key outcomes must be implemented.

• On this basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval.

• Once the new constitutional order is established, it is necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multi-party elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established.

• Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.

III. Safety, stability and calm
Any transition involves change. However, it is essential to ensure that the transition can be implemented in a way that assures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
• Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with the transitional governing body in ensuring the permanent cessation of violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the issue of the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups.

• Effective steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need. It is also necessary to ensure that the release of the detained is completed rapidly.

• Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. The public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including the intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and professional standards and operate under a top leadership that inspires public confidence, under the control of the transitional governing body.

• Commitment to Accountability and National Reconciliation. Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.


IV. Rapid steps to come to a Credible Political Agreement
It is for the people of Syria to come to a political agreement, but time is running out. It is clear that:
• The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected.

• The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in place.

• There must be an end to bloodshed. All parties must re-commit themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of armed violence in all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions to implement items 2-6 of the six-point plan.

• All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive to ensure that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the political settlement for the transition. The organized international community, including the members of the Action Group stands ready to offer significant support for the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include an international assistance presence under a United Nations Mandate if requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Agreed actions Group members will take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process
7. Action Group members will engage as appropriate, and apply joint and sustained pressure on, the parties in Syria to take the steps and measures outlined in paragraph 5.
8. Action Group members are opposed to any further militarization of the conflict.
9. Action Group members underscore to the Government of Syria the importance of the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor, when requested by the Joint Special Envoy to do so, to work on the basis of the six-point plan and this communiqué.
10. Action Group members urge the opposition to increase cohesion and be in a position to ensure effective representative interlocutors to work on the basis of the six- point plan and this communiqué.
11. Action Group members will give full support to the Joint Special Envoy and his team as they immediately engage the Government and opposition, and consult widely with Syrian society, as well as other international actors, to further develop the way forward.
12. Action Group members would welcome the Joint Special Envoy’s further convening of a meeting of the Action Group should he deem it necessary to review the concrete progress taken on all points agreed in this communiqué, and to determine what further and additional steps and actions are needed from the Action Group to address the crisis. The Joint Special Envoy will also keep the United Nations and the League of Arab States informed.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Annan's Non-Paper: Guide-lines and Principles for a Syrian-led Transition

 Annan speaks to the press in Geneva. 22 June 2012 (Click on picture)
The Action Group for Syria will discuss in Geneva this Non-Paper which was proposed by the  U.N.-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan, diplomats said. 

"Non-Paper
Guide-lines and Principles for a Syrian-led Transition

Any political settlement must deliver to the people of Syria a transition that:
- Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in Syria;

- Establishes clear steps according to a firm time-table towards the realization of that perspective;
- Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all, stability and calm;
- Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.

1. Perspective for the Future
The aspirations of the people of Syria have been clearly expressed by the wide range of Syrians I have consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a state that:
- Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections. This also means that the commitment to multi-party democracy must be lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections.
- Complies with international standards on human rights, the independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in government and the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment. There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that commitments are kept by those in authority.
- Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for sectarianism . or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds.. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their rights will be respected.

2. Clear Steps in the Transition
The conflict in Syria will only end when all sides are assured that there is a peaceful way towards a common future for all in Syria. It is therefore essential that any settlement provides for clear and irreversible steps in transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition include:
- The establishment of a Transitional Government of National Unity which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place. That means that the Government of National Unity would exercise full executive powers. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation.
- It is for the people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in Syria must be enable to participate in a National Dialogue process. That process must not only be inclusive, it must also be meaningful, that is to say, its key outcomes must be implemented.
- On this basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval.
- Once the new constitutional order is established, it is necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multi-party elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established.
- Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.

3. Safety, stability and calm
Any transition involves change. However it is essential to ensure that the transition can be implemented in a way that assures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
- Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with the Transitional Government of National Unity in ensuring the permanent cessation of violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the issue of the disarming, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups.
- Effectivc steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need. It is also necessary to ensure that. the release of the detained is completed rapidly.
- Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. The public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including the. intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and professional standard and operate under a top leadership that inspires public confidence, under the control of the Transitional Government of National Unity.
- Commitment to Accountability and National Reconciliation. Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation of rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.

4. Rapid steps to come to a Credible Political Agreement
It is for the people of Syria to come to a political agreement, but time is running out. It is clear that:
- The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected.
- The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in place.
- There must be an end to bloodshed. All parties must re-commit themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of armed violence in 'all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions to implement items 2-6 of the six-point plan.
- All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive to ensure that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the political settlement for the transition.
- The organized international community, including the members of the Action Group stands ready to offer significant support for the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include an international assistance presence under a United Nations Mandate if requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and rehabilitation."
Follow me on Twitter @NabilAbiSaab

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Alqidwa's remarks to Security Council on Action Group for Syria

DEPUTY JOINT SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES FOR SYRIA 
NASSER AL KIDWA
REMARKS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA
New York, 26 June 2012
Mr. President, Members of the Council, Mr. Ladsous, Mr. Pascoe,
1. Mr. President, when the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States addressed you just over two Weeks ago, he spoke of devastating and increasing violence in Syria, and of the need for the international community to do more to stop the killing, apply joint pressure on the parties and consequences for noncompliance, and do more to chart the course for a peaceful Syrian-led transition in the country. The UN Secretary~General also told the General Assembly at the time that each day brings new additions to the grim catalogue of atrocities, including assaults against civilians, brutal human rights violations, mass arrests, torture and execution-style killings.
2. Tragically, the situation on the ground has not improved. Indeed, the killing and destruction and attacks by government forces, including through the use of artillery, heavy shelling and government helicopters, are intensifying. More civilians, men Women and children, are being killed every day. It has been reported that civilian casualties in June have been among the highest since April. At the same time, We have seen an increased scale of asymmetric attacks by opposition forces across Syria, targeting infrastructure, installations and senior officials of Syrian Armed Forces.

Annan announces meeting of the Action Group for Syria

Bashar Ja’afari (left), Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN,
waits his turn to address journalists in the Security Council stakeout
as Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly I. Churkin
delivers remarks. 
30 May 2012 (Click on picture)
Statement by Kofi Annan, Joint Special Envoy for Syria

The Action Group for Syria will convene at the Ministerial level this Saturday, the 30th of June, in Geneva.

Today, I have sent invitations to the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council -China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America- and Turkey. Invitations have also gone to the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; as well as to the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, as Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States; Kuwait, as Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States and Qatar, as Chair of the Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States.

The objectives of the Action Group for Syria are to identify steps and measures to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms. The Action Group for Syria should also agree on guidelines and principles for a Syrian-led political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and agree on actions that will make these objectives a reality on the ground.

I look forward to a productive meeting this weekend, where we can all agree on concrete actions to end the cycle of violence and bring peace and stability to the Syrian people.

Geneva, 27 June 2012

بيان السيد/ كوفى أنان المبعوث الخاص المشترك للأمم المتحدة والجامعة العربية إلى سوريا

تجتمع مجموعة العمل حول سوريا على المستوى الوزارى فى 30 يونيو فى جنيف.

قمت اليوم بتوجيه دعوات إلى وزراء خارجية الدول الخمس دائمة العضوية فى مجلس الأمن (الصين-فرنسا-روسيا الاتحادية- المملكة المتحدة-الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية) وتركيا. كما وجهت الدعوات أيضاً لكل من الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، والأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية، والممثل الأعلى للشئون الخارجية والأمن فى الاتحاد الأوروبى، بالإضافة إلى وزير خارجية العراق الذى تتولى بلاده رئاسة القمة العربية، والكويت التى تتولى رئاسة مجلس جامعة الدول العربية على المستوى الوزراى، وقطر باعتبارها رئيس لجنة المتابعة العربية الخاصة بسوريا.

تهدف مجموعة العمل حول سوريا إلى تحديد الخطوات والإجراءات التى من شأنها ضمان التنفيذ الكامل لخطة النقاط الستة وقرارى مجلس الأمن رقم 2042 و2043، بما فى ذلك الوقف الفورى للعنف بكافة أشكاله. ومن المفترض أيضاً أن تقوم مجموعة العمل بصياغة مبادئ وخطوط استرشادية للمرحلة الانتقالية فى سوريا بما يحقق تطلعات وآمال الشعب السورى، والاتفاق على إجراءات عملية لتحقيق تلك الأهداف.

إننى أتطلع لاجتماع مثمر يمكن خلاله الاتفاق على خطوات عملية لوضع حد لدائرة العنف فى سوريا والتوصل إلى حل سلمى للأزمة السورية. 
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blue draft resolution on UNDOF: Syria violated DF Agreement

Pilgrims cross into Qunaitra, a largely destroyed, abandoned city
located in the demilitarized zone in the Golan Heights.

15 September 2011 (Click on picture)
Diplomats said that this blue draft resolution was drafted jointly by the American and Russian missions and expected to be adopted on Wednesday, 27 June 2012.
In this draft the Security Council expresses "grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement, in particular that by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces".

"The Security Council,
Noting with concern that the situation in the Middle East is tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 30  June 2012 (S/2012/403), and also reaffirming its resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,
Expressing grave concern at all violations of the Disengagement of Forces Agreement, in particular that by the Syrian Arab Armed Forces of 1 March in which they entered the Area of Separation,
Strongly deploring the incidents of March 5 and March 12 during which shots were fired at Observer Group Golan teams, in particular that of March 12 in which shots were fired by a soldier from the Bravo side in the area of limitation,
Further expressing concern at the 26 February incident in which soldiers on the Alpha side fired shots into the Area of Separation,
Concurring with the Secretary-General’s finding that events elsewhere in Syria have started to manifest themselves in the area of responsibilities of UNDOF
1. Calls upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
2. Calls on all parties to cooperate fully with the operations of UNDOF and to ensure the security of as well as unhindered and immediate access for the United Nations personnel carrying out their mandate, in conformity with existing agreements;
3. Stresses the obligation on both parties to scrupulously and fully respect the terms of the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, and calls on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any breaches of the ceasefire and the area of separation;
4. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take preventive and disciplinary action to ensure that such acts are properly investigated and punished in cases involving their personnel;
5. Notes the substantial progress achieved with regard to implementation  of the recommendations of the assessment of the operational capacity of UNDOF, as requested in its resolution 2028 (2011), in terms of maintaining and upgrading the Force’s equipment and infrastructure;
6. Decides to renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for a period of six months, that is, until 31 December 2012;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on developments in the situation and the measures taken to implement resolution 338 (1973).
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Ban established an office of Special Adviser on Yemen

Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser for Yemen, speaks to the press
 following the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2051.
12 June 2012 (Click on picture)
Letter dated 18 June 2012 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (find a copy here). 


رسالة الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة الى مجلس الأمن حول قراره إنشاء مكتب لمستشاره الخاص الى اليمن بولاية 12 شهراً. أنقر هنا. 

"I welcome the unanimous adoption of resolution 2051 by the Security Council on 12 June 2012, in which the Council reaffirmed the need for the full and timely implementation of the Transition Agreement for a Yemeni-led political transition. Resolution 2051 (2012) sends an important signal to all Yemeni sides to step up efforts to move the transition process forward and demonstrates the strong commitment of the Security Council to continue its support for a peaceful transition.
I take note that in its resolution 2051 (2012), the Security Council “requests the Secretary-General to continue his good offices role, including through the efforts of his Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar”, and in this regard “welcomes the political engagement of the United Nations through a small presence in Yemen consisting of a team of experts to support the implementation of the transition process”. In the resolution the Council also “requests the Secretary-General to continue to coordinate assistance from the international community in support of the National Dialogue and transition”.
Since the uprisings in Yemen broke out in early 2011, I have been actively engaged through my good offices in helping to find a peaceful solution. Within this framework, my Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, has continuously engaged with all sides through 12 extensive missions thus far. In November, during his sixth mission, he facilitated face-to-face negotiations between the Government and opposition at their request. This mediation effort resulted in the Transition Agreement signed in Riyadh on 23 November 2011. The Special Adviser has since remained actively engaged with all Yemeni sides in facilitating and supporting its effective implementation.
Since November, there has been progress in the implementation of the Agreement. A Government of National Unity led by Prime Minister Mohamed Basendwa was formed in December 2011. The election of President Hadi on 21 February secured the peaceful transfer of power and marked the successful completion of the first phase of Yemen’s transition. The start of security sector reform and the launch on 6 May of preparations for the National Dialogue Conference indicate that the Yemeni sides are staying on course in implementing the Agreement. However, the country’s peace remains fragile and the transition faces formidable challenges.
The Security Council recognized these challenges in resolution 2051 (2012). The convening of an all-inclusive National Dialogue in particular will be a crucial forum for shaping Yemen’s future and for creating a positive political dynamic towards greater stability and security. Helping to ensure the success of this process therefore is one of my top priorities. This will require stepped-up political facilitation efforts to help support the next steps in transition, including the National Dialogue, the constitutional review and new elections in early 2014.
To fully meet the expectations of resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012) and the Transition Agreement, in which the Yemeni sides requested me to, inter alia, “provide continuous assistance, in cooperation with other agencies, for the implementation of this Agreement”, I intend to establish a small Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen for an initial period of 12 months to fulfil the following main functions:
(a) Exercise my good offices with a view to facilitating Yemen’s transition and assisting in the implementation of the Agreement;
(b) Lead United Nations support to the National Dialogue Conference and coordinate international assistance to the Conference;
(c) Provide support to other transition steps, including the constitutional review, and new general elections in early 2014;
(d) Work closely with the members of the Security Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council and other international partners;
(e) Support the Secretary-General’s ongoing reporting obligations to the Security Council in the context of resolutions 2014 (2011) and 2051 (2012).
The Office will be headed by my Special Adviser on Yemen at the level of Assistant Secretary-General to exercise my good offices role, including through regular and frequent visits to Yemen, and engage closely with all Yemeni sides. The Special Adviser will be supported both at Headquarters and on the ground in Yemen by a small team of five Professional staff. An advance team of two Professional staff that was deployed to Sana’a in May will be incorporated into this Office. In fulfilling its tasks, the Office will work closely with United Nations agencies, funds and programs and the United Nations country team in Yemen.
I should be grateful if you could bring the present letter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.
(Signed) BAN Ki-moon"

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Turkey in a letter to Security Council: The aircraft was shot in international airspace

In this letter (find a copy here) to the Security Council, Turkey stated that Syria shot down its aircraft in the international airspace and shot at second aircraft involved in search and rescue. 

"Excellency,
I would like to bring your kind attention a significant incident that poses a serious threat to peace and security in the region, in the context of the Syrian crisis.
On 22 June 2012, at 11:58 local time, a Turkish RF-4 type military aircraft was shot down by Syrian forces While flying solo and without arms 13 NM off the coast of Syria in international airspace at an altitude of 7400 feet.
The precise coordinates of the incident are 35 48.22N - 35 32.21E. The aircraft did not display any hostile attitude or maneuver and was flying with its identification systems open. The shooting came Without any prior Warning. After receiving a the aircraft diverted towards the Syrian coast and crashed into the sea at 8 NM-off the coast of Latakia, precisely at the coordinates 35 48.26N - 35 37.59E.
In fact, both Turkish and Syrian radar and radio records testify that our aircraftiifvas shot at the international airspace. Third parties’ radar records would substantiate these facts as well. Furthermore, the captured radio communication among Syrian ' authorities clearly demonstrates that the Syrian units were fully aware of the circumstances and the fact that the aircraft belonged to Turkey.
Search and rescue operation has immediately been initiated and still continues. Yet, on 22 June 2012, harassment fire was opened to our CASA type aircraft by an anti—aircraft artillery positioned on the Syrian shore in spite of the established coordination with the Syrian authorities for the Search and Rescue Operation.
Turkey’s primary focus at this moment is the search and rescue mission. Once all the facts are established, We Will decide on the scope of the measures in response to this act. Turkey withholds her -rights emanating from international law.
This attack at the international airspace, causing possible loss of two Turkish pilots, is a hostile act by the Syrian authorities against Turkey’s national security. Thus, we strongly condemn it.
I would be grateful if the text of the present letter could be circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 34, and of the Security Council.
Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.


HE. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General United Nations
New York
Yours truly,
Apakan Ambassador Pennanent Representative
H.E. Ambassador Mr. Li Baodong President of the Security Council
NewY0rk"
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Annan: Contact Group will discuss further actions on Syria


Using stones and metal rods, angry crowds in El-Haffeh, Syria,
 damaged UN vehicles and fired on the convoy as officers 
of the UNSMIS observer mission tried to access the area. 
13 June 2012 (Click on picture)
 Joint Special Envoy for SyriaOpening remarks at joint press conference
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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Security Council on Mali: Waiting for detailed options from ECOWAS

Press Statement from the President of the Security Council on Mali 


"On Friday, 15 June, the members of the Security Council met with a high-level delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss the situation in Mali. 

The members of the Security Council shared the concerns raised by representatives of ECOWAS regarding the current challenges for the restoration of full constitutional order in Mali and for upholding the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali. 

The members of the Security Council encouraged a political settlement of the crisis and reiterated their full support to the mediation efforts currently made by ECOWAS and its mediator, President Blaise Compaoré, as well as by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and by the African Union. 

The members of the Security Council took note in this context of the request of ECOWAS and the AU for a Security Council mandate authorizing the deployment of an ECOWAS stabilization Force in order to ensure the protection of Malian state institutions and assist in upholding the territorial integrity of Mali and in combating terrorism. 

The members of the Security Council expressed their readiness to further examine the request of ECOWAS once additional information has been provided regarding the objectives, means and modalities of the envisaged deployment and other possible measures. In this regard, the members of the Security Council encouraged a close cooperation between the Commission of ECOWAS, the Commission of the African Union, the United Nations Secretariat and countries in the region in order to prepare detailed options."

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