Political solution best option for Syria - GulfToday

Political solution best option for Syria

SYRIA

Over 400,000 people have been killed and over 11 million forced to flee their homes since the conflict started in 2011.

The long-sought agreement reached by the United Nations on the composition of a committee to draft a new constitution for Syria is a positive development.

The Syrian people have suffered for too long. Since the conflict erupted in 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed and over 11 million forced to flee their homes. The country has witnessed unprecedented devastation and displacement.

The worst affected have been children. In 2018 alone, 1,106 children were said to have been killed in fighting in the country – the highest ever number of children killed in a single year since the start of the war.

This important step on the constitution panel can help the country leave the conflict behind and look forward to a new path of peace and progress.

Billions of dollars in US and European reconstruction aid are conditioned on the government taking concrete steps towards a political settlement.

When at a Russian-hosted Syrian peace conference in January 2018 an agreement was reached to form a 150-member committee to draft a new constitution, it was looked at as a key step towards elections and a political settlement to the Syrian conflict.

The task has not been easy.

There was an early agreement on 50-member lists from the Syrian government and the opposition. But it has taken nearly 20 months to agree on the list the United Nations was authorised to put together representing experts, independents, tribal leaders and women.

It is a moral obligation for the international community to support Syrians to unite around a vision that addresses the root causes of the conflict and forges a negotiated political solution.

In July, Senior Humanitarian Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Najat Rochdi, revealed that an estimated 11.7 million people across Syria needed humanitarian assistance, five million of which were in acute need.

The UAE, on its part, has spared no efforts to contribute to international endeavours aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people of Syria.

Delivering the UAE’s statement before the UNHRC as part of the interactive dialogue held by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Jamal Azzam, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, clearly expressed the UAE’s appreciation of the efforts played by the Commission to brief the members on the latest developments in the war-ravaged country in line with UNHRC Resolution 40/17.

Azzam underlined the UAE’s appreciation of the efforts made by Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General for Syria, and his efforts to effect a comprehensive truce in accordance with UNSC Resolution No. 2254 and to revive political efforts, including the formation of a constitutional committee.

He rightly called on the international community to continue efforts in support of the brotherly people of Syria to ensure affected populations’ access to assistance and services.

Since 2012, the UAE has spent as much as $1.01 billion in humanitarian and developmental aid for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Greece as well as on the internally displaced people. Part of the aid has been allocated to financing projects in areas of public health, development and drinking water.

As Azzam pointed out, the re-opening the UAE embassy in Damascus goes in line with the Emirati call for activating the Arab role in the current developments in Syria.

The move also fits within the UAE’s keenness to invigorate the joint Arab action in a way that supports pan-Arab interest.