INTERVIEW: “Every conflict has an end, and this conflict… has to come to an end after five years” – UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefs the press in Geneva in January 2015. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura briefs the press in Geneva in January 2015. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

New York, 30 July 2015 – The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has been tasked with reinvigorating an inclusive political process towards ending the crisis in the country, based on the aims set out in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, which was adopted by the first international conference on the issue and has been endorsed by the UN security Council.

During the tragic arc of Syria’s conflict, some 220,000 people have been killed, more than one million have been injured, 7.6 million have been displaced and four million people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, according to UN estimates.

Mr. de Mistura has described the Communiqué as a ‘roadmap’ towards agreement on a new Syria. Among other points, the document calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

For the past year, the Special Envoy has been facilitating efforts, in Syria and throughout the region, to bring about a broadly inclusive way forward, including by convening in Geneva in early May a series of in-depth, separate consultations with Syrian stakeholders and regional and international actors. Those consultations, he has said, aimed to ‘stress test’ any willingness of narrowing the gaps in interpretation of the principles contained in the Geneva Communiqué.

In New York this week to brief the Security Council on his latest push to take the aims of the Communiqué forward, Mr. de Mistura spoke to the UN News Centre about the situation on the ground, the role of the international community in helping in the conflict, and his proposal for the next steps in executing his mandate.