EU strategy on Syria must include swift reconstruction, state-building and reconciliation, say S&Ds
Commenting ahead of the opening of the Brussels conference on the future of Syria and following yesterday's Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, S&D vice-president Victor Boştinaru said:
"Finding a credible solution for Syria involves a clear political transition, reconstruction and reconciliation but also maintaining the EU's support for the large number of refugees and displaced persons – in Syria, neighbouring countries and the wider region. Swift reconstruction and state-building in Syria are key to a lasting peaceful transition and the EU has an important role to play in this post-conflict period. This may be the moment when we decide the future of this country, totally wrecked by six years of war – if the post-conflict transition fails then conflict may be rekindled. Therefore, we welcome yesterday’s Council conclusions outlining the EU strategy for Syria and the conference starting today in Brussels, as well as the continuing commitment of the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner Stylianides to providing humanitarian relief, restarting the negotiations and to a lasting peace in Syria.
"It is important to keep in mind that Syrian reconciliation can only be ensured through an early focus on accountability and justice for the numerous war crimes, human-rights abuses and violations of international law committed during this extremely violent conflict. It is important today to continue gathering information and to ensure legal proceedings begin as soon as possible.
"This being said, after six years, the conflict is relentless and the regime continues to bomb and besiege numerous areas in the country, including Idlib and the countryside around Damascus. Therefore, we shall add our voices to those of the Council and Federica Mogherini and call on the regime and its allies to ensure a cessation of hostilities, in both the short- and long-term, and a return to the negotiating table in Geneva.
"Our main and first goal has to be to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people. This can only be achieved if the ceasefire is fully respected and through an inclusive political transition that will stabilise the country, establishing the basis for democratic elections, respect for religious pluralism in Syria and the eradication of Daesh and other UN-designated terrorist groups."