Iran urges all illegal forces to withdraw from Syria

IRNA – Iran’s Chargé d’affaires to the United Nations in a statement urged all illegal forces to quit Syria.

“All foreign forces whose presence is not permitted by the Syrian Government should leave the country,” Eshagh Al Habib said in an address to the United Nations Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Syria – Political on Friday.

The full text of Al Habib’s speech at the UNSC meeting is as follows:

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Mr. President,
I thank Mr. de Mistura, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, for all of his efforts during his tenure.

I would also like to welcome the appointment of the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Mr. Pedersen, and express our readiness to cooperate with him in discharging his mandate.

From the beginning of the Syrian crisis till now, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always had a principled position: there is no solution for this conflict other than political settlement.

It was based on this principled approach that we cooperated with Russia and Turkey in initiating the Astana Process.

We have made considerable progress so far and will strongly continue the path towards political settlement.

Now, after years of conflict with all of its security, socio-economic and humanitarian ramifications, there is an emerging consensus in support for the political process.
Nevertheless, what the international community should do in this regard is to facilitate rather than to dictate the process.

In this context, we attach great importance to the creation of the Constitutional Committee as a decisive element of this process.

This year, the Astana Guarantor States have made every effort to prepare grounds for the formation of the Constitutional Committee.

In this regard, we would like to highlight the progress that has been made to date which should be considered a joint success of the international community and the Syrians as it is towards a political solution to end this crisis.

The latest round of our endeavors was the ministerial meeting of the Astana Guarantor States in Geneva on 18 December 2018 where they also held consultations with Mr. de Mistura.

During the meeting, the positive results of the consultations with the Syrian parties on the composition of the Constitutional Committee was presented.

The ministers reaffirmed their determination to facilitate the beginning of the Constitutional Committee’s work, inter alia by elaborating its general guiding principles through interaction with the Syrian parties and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, on the basis of which the rules of procedure that will ensure its efficient and sustainable work will be determined.

Moreover, they agreed that the work of the Constitutional Committee should be governed by a sense of compromise and constructive engagement aimed at reaching the general agreement of its members which would enable the outcome to receive the widest possible support by the Syrian people.

The Ministers also agreed to take efforts aimed at convening the first session of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva in early 2019.

Finally, reaffirming their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, they emphasized that these principles should be respected by all sides.

This means that all foreign forces whose presence is not permitted by the Syrian Government should leave the country.

While significant progress has been made thus far on the establishment of the Constitutional Committee, we need to continue our efforts with utmost care, perseverance, prudence and patience.

With that in mind, our guiding principle must be to ensure that the Committee be an effective, pragmatic and inclusive Syrian-led and Syrian-owned vehicle in order to move forward.

In order to achieve this, the Committee needs strong international support.

However, ultimately, the right to determine the future of Syria belongs exclusively to Syrians themselves.

At this critical juncture of the Syrian crisis, we should all accept that there is no choice other than cooperating in the facilitation of an inclusive Syrian political process.

Therefore, all States having influence on the armed opposition groups are expected to encourage them to end the fighting in order to join the political process. This is extremely crucial for gaining any progress in the political domain.

Likewise, parallel to the efforts in the political field, fighting with terrorists should continue unabated. This, of course, should be done taking into account the international law and utmost care for protection of civilians.

Additionally, given the ongoing positive trends in promoting security conditions and as a result of the growing trend of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the international community should further support the reconstruction of this country as well as the speedy return of refugees and internally displaced persons. To that end, all sanctions must be removed too.

In conclusion, I wish to stress that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to play its constructive role in bringing peace and prosperity to Syria.

I thank you, Mr. President.