Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the meeting with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen
Esteemed Mr Pedersen,
Welcome to Moscow. This is already your fifth visit to the Russian capital as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria.
We see that despite the objective difficulties, above all the coronavirus pandemic, the settlement process in Syria is making steady progress. The situation in most of Syria’s territory has noticeably stabilised, although the counterterrorism struggle still remains an urgent task. There are still hotbeds of terrorism in Syria. Now the tasks of organising peaceful life in the country, rendering humanitarian aid to civilians and, of course, creating conditions for the return of refugees, to which the international conference in Damascus was devoted, are gradually moving to the forefront. We are also aware of the need to further invigorate the efforts on a political settlement and we are seeing your steps to resume the work of the Constitutional Committee as soon as possible. We hope that the plans that we coordinated with the Syrian parties, including in Damascus, will still be carried out. We feel a special responsibility for the success of these efforts under your guidance. The Constitutional Committee was established at the initiative of the three countries in Astana that continue to function, following the process of the Syrian settlement in all its aspects envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Of course, the resolution provides for unconditional respect by all members of the international community for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of the Syrian Arab Republic. The persisting international presence on Syrian territory, which does not meet these criteria, creates yet another problem that needs to be resolved.
In general, we have very close approaches to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254. I hope today we will hear your assessments that will be very useful for us.
Welcome once again!