Geir Pedersen, special envoy of UN Secretary-General for Syria, speaks to journalists during a press encounter after a Security Council meeting on the political situation in Syria at the UN headquarters in New York, Feb. 28, 2019. Geir Pedersen, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, said Thursday that a real peace process in Syria needs to be owned by the Syrians. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- A real peace process in Syria needs to be owned by the Syrians, said Geir Pedersen, special envoy of UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres for Syria.
"A real peace process in Syria needs to be owned by the Syrians for it to be sustainable, while demanding compliance with international law and stressing a need to protect civilians, ensure unfettered humanitarian access and cease hostilities," the envoy said at a UN Security Council meeting on the political situation in Syria.
Summarizing his meetings in Syria with the government, which reaffirmed an agreement to sustained dialogue based on Resolution 2254 (2015), he said engagements with stakeholders have been "frank, practical and constructive."
"We are not starting from scratch," he said. "We have 12 living principles developed by the Syrians in Geneva and affirmed in Sochi. We have baskets that have formed an agreed agenda of intra-Syrian talks under United Nations facilitation."
Outlining several pertinent issues going forward, he said it was essential that he have direct and effective engagement with the government of Syria and the opposition.
There is a shared sense that battlefield developments might be "winding down," he said, but "the conflict is far from over" and the challenges of winning peace are staggering in scale and complexity.