Syria: New European conference about peace efforts in April

Syria: New European conference about peace efforts in April
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini

The world and the EU should put more efforts to push the peace process in Syria instead of the fighting and suffer that rages in the country, top European Union diplomat Federica Mogherini said.

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.

Many international efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis have failed until now in reaching the desired solution, but in the last round of the Syria peace talks in Geneva, the UN envoy for Syria said that they are walking in the right way.

EU capital Brussels will host an international conference on Syria on April 5, hoping to create a new momentum. It has, however, long played only a marginal role in international efforts to resolve the conflict.

Mogherini has for months been talking to Middle East players including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Lebanon, seeking to find a minimum common ground between them on what the future peace could look like.

“I believe there can be a space for all international players and especially all regional actors… (to) see that it’s far more convenient at this moment to turn this into a proxy peace and allow Syria to restart somehow with a political transition that will be needed,” Mogherini told reporters.

EU officials say the Middle East states agreed they did not want a frozen conflict in Syria or have it break apart, as it would continue to feed instability on their doorstep for years.

The EU now acknowledges that, should the war go on, it would lead to the break-up of Syria along sectarian lines or see Assad regain military control of the whole of the country.

The 28-nation bloc, which Mogherini said has spent 9.4 billion euros on various Syria-related projects over the last six years, has threatened not to pay for reconstruction work should Moscow and Damascus crush the Western-backed opposition entirely.

The bloc sees the U.N.-led talks as an alternative to “continued conflict or continued autocratic rule” and says the post-war Syria should be democratic and give wide political representation to its various social groups.

Peace talks in Geneva

The latest round of Syria peace talks has started in Geneva on February 23. after it was previously planned to be on February 8. but delayed in order to take advantage of the results of Astana settlement about the ceasefire in Syria, which was planned by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, addressed the both delegations asking them to work together to help in ending the crisis in the country.

De Mistura told the representatives of both delegations that they had a joint responsibility to end a conflict that had killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

The discussions were almost stalled as both parts insisted on their own goals before the talks and accused each other of trying to hinder talks.

The opposition’s delegation accused the regime delegation of seeking to hinder the peace talks as its head said the main goal of the talks should be combating terrorism without mentioning the political process, while regime forces in Syria kept breaching the ongoing shaky truce and killed dozens of civilians since the talks started.

However, both sides could point to small victories. The opposition said that the question of political transition was seriously addressed for the first time, while U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said counter-terrorism – an issue pushed by Assad regime’s delegation – had been added to the agenda.