Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen, Moscow, July 22, 2021
We are very glad to host once again you and your delegation to continue our productive, though not always easy, dialogue on the promotion of the settlement in Syria on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which is your mandate.
We certainly appreciate the efforts you and your team invest in the implementation of this important document. We, as members of the UN Security Council, as part of the Astana format, certainly would like to continue our contribution and our input, especially since not long ago there was another Astana meeting, which you attended.
It is a nice opportunity at this stage to exchange assessments and views, and to see the way forward, especially since the next meeting of the Constitutional Committee hopefully can be convened soon.
And, of course, we note the continued relative stabilisation on the ground, which is not matched by the efforts of the international community to assist in resolving humanitarian issues, and problems of the rehabilitation of infrastructure for the refugees to be able to come back safely and comfortably.
I hope that, with the latest adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2585 on July 9, co-sponsored by Russia and the United States, the situation must change. That resolution clearly says that there must be deliveries of humanitarian goods crossline, and a couple of humanitarian convoys have been waiting – one for more than one year, another for a few months – for reasons which we do not understand and which, of course, require much more effort on the part of the United Nations. The same resolution provides for specific projects aimed at restoring electricity, water supply, health facilities and schooling.
So there is a clear mandate in addition to Resolution 2254. There is a very clear-cut mandate for the Secretary-General, not only to do all these things, but to report regularly on how these projects are being implemented.
I think it is a very opportune moment for your visit. It is very nice to see you again.
You rightly highlighted the dire economic and social crisis in Syria. The reason, of course, is rooted in the military conflict, which devastated quite a large chunk of the Syrian territory and human settlements. But the absolutely illegal, suffocating sanctions, the so-called Caesar Act adopted by the US and similar activities – or the lack of activities of the European Union – are clearly adding to the crisis. You rightly said that, for the members of the international community who would like to be helpful on all aspects of Resolution 2254, it is important to come to a table and show everybody what they are willing to put on the table. So any formats that there might be we will consider from the point of view of potential added value.