PACE Bureau deplores international community’s failure to convene Syria peace conference

PACE Bureau deplores the international community’s failure to convene the international peace conference on Syria

The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting today in Vienna (Austria), deplores the fact that the organisation of an international peace conference on Syria (Geneva 2), which the Assembly wholeheartedly supported when adopting its Recommendation 2026 (2013) on the situation in Syria last month, has not yet been convened and that no date has been fixed. The international community has so far failed to reach agreement both on the participants and the agenda.

The Bureau of the Assembly recalls that whereas the international community’s agreement on a process aimed at the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, and Resolution 2118 adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 27 September 2013, had renewed hopes for peace, they did not stop the war, which continues nonetheless with the use of conventional weapons.

Underlining that an end to the violence and embracing the change for which so many lives have been sacrificed will only be possible in Syria through a political solution to the conflict, the Bureau of the Assembly reiterates the urgent need to convene the international peace conference on Syria (Geneva 2) before the end of this year and, in this respect, urges Council of Europe member States to:

- make use of their bilateral relations with Arab States and other States in the region to secure their support for a ceasefire in preparation for this conference;

- engage in all international efforts aimed at obtaining an agreement on participants as well as on the agenda of the forthcoming peace conference, including efforts aimed at uniting those Syrian opposition groups which favour democracy and tolerance and bringing them to the negotiation table;

- show solidarity and share responsibility by taking the necessary measures to cater for Syrian refugees as effectively as possible;

- ensure that the effects of the very widespread use of sexual violence against women, and the wider humanitarian consequences of the Syrian conflict, including the need for urgent international assistance, are put, as a priority, on the agenda of the forthcoming international peace conference on Syria (Geneva 2).

The Assembly will discuss how to organise the international assistance with respect to Syrian refuges at its January 2014 part-session.