Switzerland, as the host state for Geneva’s peace process for Syria, supports the rapid establishment of a Syrian constitutional committee.
“Concrete steps within the framework of the UN peace process for Syria are now within reach,” said Ignazio Cassis during a conference on Syria at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. The constitutional committee, which was mediated by UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, is a first step towards a comprehensive peace process.
The Syrian constitution should be the highest point of reference for all Syrians, Cassis said. For the legitimacy of the committee it is of the utmost importance that Syrian society has the opportunity to interact with the committee.
The “Civil Society Support Room” in Geneva – a place where society can exchange ideas with politicians – is actively supported by Switzerland and can contribute to increasing Syrian ownership.
According to Cassis, Switzerland has provided over CHF420 million ($426 million) in aid both in Syria and the region. This has been the largest humanitarian operation in the history of Switzerland. Yet 12 million people in Syria still need humanitarian aid and protection. More than 5.6 million people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The Swiss foreign minister noted that he was particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation in northwestern Syria.
Good offices for peacebuilding
Cassis went on to say that Switzerland is offering its good offices to promote peace and stability in the region. “By reducing regional conflicts and tensions, we are creating the conditions for solutions to Syrian as well as other conflicts,” he said.
Respect for human rights is also essential for Syria’s peaceful future. Innovative approaches are needed to counter the huge scale of violations of international humanitarian law in Syria.
The foreign minister highlighted the Geneva-based UN Refugee Agencyexternal link as a good example of scientific diplomacy, as it uses digital data and state-of-the-art technologies to collect and secure evidence of human rights violations in Syria.