BRUSSELS, January 14, 2016/PRNewswire — As part of his consultation visits to review necessary measures for the launch of the political process, Dr. Riad Hijab, today met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mr. Didier Reynders, and High Representative of the European Union, Mrs. Federica Mogherini. He briefed them on the preparations of the Supreme Commission in relation to the political process, as well as the results of the meetings between the Commission and the international envoy to Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura.
Dr. Hijab expressed his full support for international efforts for the implementation of the provisions of the Geneva Communique (2012) and UNSCR2118 to launch a political process leading to the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive authority. He also stressed the need for urgent commitment by all international parties to the provisions of Articles (12) and (13) of UNSCR2254 before embarking on any arrangements related to the negotiating process. In particular, lifting the siege imposed on cities and regions to enable humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to all those in need, the release of all detainees, the ceasing of aerial shelling and artillery attacks against civilians and civilian targets, and other goodwill and confidence-building measures.
Dr. Hijab discussed the impact of the war and its consequences: the tragic humanitarian situation, the effects it has had on the security of neighbouring countries as well as Europe, the systematic shelling against populated areas which is leading to waves of migration- where some five million Syrian refugees are in shelter camps in neighbouring countries, and about 6 million Syrians are displaced living in areas outside the control of the regime. He added that recent Russian bombardment has contributed to the additional new waves of immigration to Europe. Dr. Hijab warned that the continuation of humanitarian violations and prolonging the conflict will serve the agendas of terrorist groups which seek to stretch the fighting and to target global security and the security of European countries in particular.
In this context, Dr. Hijab underlined that operations to combat terrorism are now completely beyond the regime’s control and that allied forces are better equipped to carry out these operations. On the other hand, he cautioned, that forces allied to the regime are targeting moderate factions under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Dr. Hijab suggested pursuing: “an international initiative for the cessation of the fighting, consolidating international efforts in the fight against Da’esh (IS), and avoiding the trap of exhausting international diplomacy and time by insisting upon the issuance of a standard list of terror organisations agreed by various countries with varying views on the definition of terrorism; this is a futile attempt to disrupt the political process.” He emphasised that counter-terrorism operations will require the removal of thousands of foreign fighters- those grouped under Da’esh, as well as the sectarian militias and mercenaries of various nationalities; he stressed that this issue needs to be negotiated with the countries supporting the regime, requiring their full adherence to the removal of all foreign militias from Syrian territory in accordance with resolutions adopted by the Security Council. Furthermore, Dr. Hijab highlighted the requirement of establishing an international supervisory mechanism to ensure commitment to the cessation of combat and the exit of all foreign fighters. He added that, “there is no doubt that negotiating with the regime in matters outside and beyond its control will discredit and derail the negotiations.”
From Brussels, Dr. Hijab urged the international community to act to stop the ongoing violations, and to work to provide a secure climate for dialogue.
Source: Office of Dr Riad Hijab, Former Prime Minister of Syria