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Statement of behalf of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura

Press Release

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Special Envoy de Mistura appreciates the work done at the Astana meeting by the three guarantors -- the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey -- to ensure that the Idlib de-escalation arrangements are sustained. He is very grateful to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for the generous hospitality and efficient support of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Special Envoy also recognises the initial, although still very limited, movement on the issue of detainees, noting the immense scale and widespread concern among Syrians regarding this vital humanitarian issue.

However, Special Envoy de Mistura deeply regrets that at a special meeting in Astana with the three Sochi co-conveners, there was no tangible progress in overcoming the ten-month stalemate on the composition of the constitutional committee as outlined in the Sochi Final Statement of 30 January 2018 and in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

This was the last occasion of an Astana meeting in 2018 and has, sadly for the Syrian people, been a missed opportunity to accelerate the establishment of a credible, balanced and inclusive, Syrian-owned, Syrian-led, UN-facilitated constitutional committee.

At the same time, the Special Envoy heard the three countries commit to intensify their efforts and therefore indicated his readiness to facilitate further efforts next week.

The Special Envoy will continue to pursue any avenue that can overcome the obstacles for the establishment of such a constitutional committee prior to the target date of 31 December 2018, as indicated by Presidents Erdogan, Putin and Macron and Chancellor Merkel in Istanbul.

The Special Envoy has continued to keep the Secretary-General closely appraised and intends to report to the Security Council in December.

Geneva, 29 November 2018