Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov’s statement upon the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2268 on Syria, in New York

February 26,2016

Mr President,

Today we have taken one more collective step towards a political settlement in Syria. The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution endorsing the deal announced in the Joint Statement by the United States and the Russian Federation, Co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, on the cessation of hostilities in Syria on the terms of the statement. The statement and this resolution, which was co-authored by Russia, must be strictly implemented without any precondition. The process itself must be reliably monitored. It is important that this resolution was adopted almost simultaneously with the ceasefire agreement coming into effect. Many armed groups have announced their intention to honour its terms.

In accordance with the Joint Statement, the cessation of hostilities does not apply to ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusrah and other organisations that have been declared terrorist groups by the UN Security Council. The fight against them will continue. We believe that long-lasting stabilisation in Syria will be possible only if the terrorist threat is rooted out. In order to attain this goal, we must stop any attempts to use terrorists as a tool of back-alley geopolitical schemes. The terrorists’ supply lines must be shut down. A reliable barrier to these illegal deliveries must be erected on the Syrian border as they are a source of livelihood and prosperity for criminal capital. A stop must be put to the continued external infringements on Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The joint actions that have been coordinated with our American partners are designed to facilitate the dramatic turn for the better in this drawn out Syria crisis. We now have a practical opportunity to stop the violence, boost the collective fight against terrorism and improve the critical humanitarian situation in Syria.

It is of crucial importance that these new conditions for a political process have been created under UN auspices, the main role of which has been given to the Syrian parties to the conflict. A proper part in this process should be played by those Syrians who have not fled their country during this protracted conflict, as well as the Kurds, who are a major force in the counterterrorist efforts. In other words, all representatives of Syria’s political forces and ethnic and religious groups must have a say.

We know that it will be a difficult process, considering the duration of the conflict and the attempts to cut short nascent positive developments. However, the intra-Syrian talks should resume as soon and possible and the negotiating sides should advance consistently on all issues on the agenda, as this latest UN Security Council resolution says. We pin our hopes on an integral and unbiased support for this process by the UN and the constructive role of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Mr Staffan de Mistura. At the same time, the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and other fundamental documents must be implemented in full, without any regard for the changing situation and the egoistical objectives of any opposition group.

Any actions that could derail the political process through the advance of any preconditions must be cut short.

We must not adjust our positions to the radical groups but encourage them to engage in dialogue. At the same time, external support for armed groups, which is having a destructive effect on the political process and could endanger the ceasefire regime, must stop.

Mr President,

We hope that the Syrian parties to the conflict, regional countries and the international community as a whole will act responsibly to implement the entire package of decisions regarding a political settlement in Syria. We must be guided above all by the interests of the Syrian people. This historical opportunity must not be missed.

Russia has been working consistently towards a political settlement in Syria. Our contribution to concerted efforts have helped launch the Vienna process and create the International Syria Support Group and led to the adoption of fundamental UN Security Council decisions. We believe that the foundations for constructive cooperation, which we are creating even today, are absolutely indispensable for the successful movement towards a peaceful solution. On a broader plane, we should discuss the elaboration of a comprehensive strategy for political stabilisation and socioeconomic rehabilitation in the Middle East and North Africa. It is only through collective efforts that we can answer the current challenges in the region. We reaffirm Russia’s initiatives on broad-based interaction in this sphere.