The European Union said it will be ready to assist in the reconstruction of Syria only when a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition is firmly under way.
It recalled that a sustainable solution to the conflict requires a genuine, inclusive political transition in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva communique negotiated by the Syrian parties within the UN-led Geneva process, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
“The conflict in Syria has endured for more than a decade. The EU remains committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian state,” it said in a report published on Thursday.
“The EU wholeheartedly supports the efforts of UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen to advance on all aspects of UNSCR 2254, including on the issues of detainees and missing persons at the hands of the regime, and the establishment of a safe and neutral environment in order for free and fair elections to be held under UN supervision.”
It called on all participants, particularly the Syrian regime, to engage in good faith in the political process, including the Constitutional Committee.
The EU has responded positively to the UNSE’s initiative for a ‘steps-for-steps’ approach to help move the political process forward.
According to some estimates, up to 1,500 civilians have been killed in Syria in 2021 alone, as a direct result of the conflict.
“Continued hostilities across Syria, provoked by various actors, render ordinary life impossible for the civilian population,” the report warned.
It urged parties of the conflict to uphold the ceasefire agreed in March 2020 in the northwest without reserve.
It once again echoed the calls made by the UN Security Council for the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire.
“Civilians must be protected at all times and attacks on civilian objects, including hospitals, must cease,” it stressed.
The EU further underlined the importance of accountability and justice for victims for a stable, peaceful Syria, based on a credible, inclusive and viable political solution in accordance with UNSCR 2254.
“In the absence of international justice, the prosecution of war crimes under national jurisdiction where possible, now under way in several EU member states, represents an important contribution towards securing justice.”
It added that it will continue to support efforts to gather evidence with a view to future legal action, including by the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria, and the work of the Commission of Inquiry.
It stressed the need to address the underlying causes of the refugee and displacement crisis - 5.6 million Syrians are registered as refugees and another 6.7 million people displaced within Syria - under UNSCR 2254.
According to the report, the EU continues to warn against any further displacements in any part of Syria, as well as against the potential exploitation of such displacements for the purposes of social and demographic engineering.
Humanitarian needs in Syria continue to increase from 11 million in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020 to 14 million people at present.
The EU and its member states are the largest donor. They have provided 25 billion euros to meet the needs arising from the crisis over the last decade.
“We will continue to demonstrate solidarity with the Syrian people and call on the international community to increase their commitments,” said the EU.