General Assembly Security Council

UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria [Political]

[25 June 2021]




Mr. Prakash Gupta

Joint Secretary (UNP), Ministry of External Affairs


Allow me to begin by thanking Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen for his comprehensive briefing.


2. As things stand presently, the political track has not moved any further since our last discussion in the Council on 26 May.


3. The UN-facilitated Constitutional Committee process has an onerous task of preparing and drafting for popular approval, a constitution, which will contribute to the political settlement in Syria and the implementation of Resolution 2254 (2015).  However, there has not been much progress since its establishment in September 2019.


4. We call upon all sides to remain engaged in discussions on the ‘bridging proposal’ put forth by the Special Envoy in April. We have noted the update on Deputy Special Envoy Ms. Khawla Matar’s recent engagements in Damascus. We hope that the Special Envoy will succeed in bringing about an understanding among all the three groups on the work plan and methodology, paving the way for convening the sixth meeting at the earliest opportunity.


4. Let me reiterate once again that for the UN-led political track to move forward, we need cooperation from all major stakeholders in the conflict. The political transition in Syria facilitated by the UN is not an exclusive process. The stakeholders need to bridge existing divides by focusing on measured incremental positive steps. They need to review their long-entrenched positions, act collaboratively and strengthen the hands of the Special Envoy and thereby give a collective push to the UN-led political track. We believe this can be realized if all parties agree to work together in good faith and their sponsors do not interfere.


5. The recent attack on the hospital in Afrin city in northern Syria underscores the need for a nationwide comprehensive ceasefire. We condemn the attack on hospital and killing of innocent civilians. Across the country, including in north western Syria, fighting along the frontlines has continued in one form or the other, putting the lives of innocent civilians in jeopardy. It is also a matter of concern that the fundamental principles of international law, such as non-interference in the internal affairs of States, respect for territorial integrity and independence have been repeatedly violated in Syria. The presence of foreign forces and the support to armed groups have led to an extremely dangerous situation in Syria.


6. India remains deeply concerned that the involvement of external actors in Syria has given a fillip to the growth of terrorism in Syria and in the region. We urge the international community to reflect on this aspect of the Syrian conflict with all earnestness. We need to be consistent in strongly condemning terrorism. The latest 60 day report of the Secretary General on the humanitarian situation mentions about the attacks carried out by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a designated terrorist group and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The latest report of UNITAD also refers to the repeated use of chemical weapons by ISIL against civilian populations between 2014 and 2016. The reports of presence of mercenaries from Syria in Africa is equally worrying. It is imperative that all parties adhere to their international obligations to fight terrorism and terrorist organizations in Syria, as designated by the Security Council. We would like to hear  Special Envoy’s views on the upcoming meeting of anti-ISIL coalition in Rome, where he is slated to participate.


7. Lastly, India firmly believes that long-term security and stability of this region can only be achieved by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We also remain convinced that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.


I thank you Mr. President.