Mr President,

I would now like to make a statement in my national capacity on the political situation in Syria.

As 2023 draws to a close, Switzerland can look back on a pivotal year for Syria. The earthquakes of 6 February, which shook a country already devastated by war, revived welcome regional diplomatic efforts under the aegis of the League of Arab States. These diplomatic efforts seem to have stalled, and we can only regret this. The current political status quo coupled with the renewed intensity of the conflict is of great concern to us. We are also concerned about the serious risk of a major regional escalation into which Syria could be drawn. We must avoid this situation at all costs.

We wish to point out that the solutions to the conflict in Syria are known. They are contained in Resolution 2254, which this Council adopted precisely eight years ago. At a time of great regional tension, its implementation is particularly urgent. In addition to a national ceasefire, a multifaceted commitment is needed: this includes resuming the work of the Constitutional Committee. In this respect, we regret the lack of significant progress and urge all parties concerned to commit themselves in good faith and to collaborate with the Special Envoy, whom we thank for his efforts to relaunch such a process. Switzerland remains ready to make Geneva available to host the meetings of this committee, as well as any other type of talks and initiatives aimed at promoting a lasting peace in Syria.

Mr President,

In view of the tragic human toll of the past year, we once again call on all parties to establish a nationwide ceasefire and to ensure the protection of civilians. It is essential that all parties respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities. It is imperative that the civilian population and civilian objects, including infrastructure indispensable to the survival of the population, be protected: this Council must make this its priority. The Syrian population desperately needs this. For its part, Switzerland will spare no effort.

 Switzerland would like to pay tribute to the remarkable commitment of Syrian civil society. These organisations play a crucial role in easing tensions and bringing about national reconciliation. Like the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, they play an important role in documenting international crimes, which is essential in the fight against impunity. Their work is therefore fundamental to achieving lasting peace. We would like to reaffirm our full support for them and stress the need to provide them with the resources they need to carry out their work.

Thank you.

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