The meeting of the Ministerial Contact Group on Syria issued a statement as follows:
At the invitation of Minister Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and in implementation of the decision of the League of Arab States Council at the summit level No. 822 on May 19, 2023, the foreign ministers of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Iraq held a meeting Today, August 15, 2023, the Arab Liaison Committee met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Lebanese Republic, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, to follow up on the implementation of the Amman Statement issued on May 1, 2023, and to strengthen the Arab leadership role in settling the Syrian crisis and addressing its political and security consequences. And humanity, and to continue the dialogue to achieve this goal, according to a step-by-step methodology, and in line with Security Council Resolution No. 2254, and in a way that preserves Syria’s unity, cohesion and sovereignty, meets the aspirations of its people, rids it of terrorism, and contributes to strengthening the appropriate conditions for the voluntary and safe return of refugees as a humanitarian priority.
The meeting of the Liaison Committee and the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates discussed the developments of the situation in Syria, and the contacts of Their Highnesses and Excellencies members of the Liaison Committee and the Syrian government with the United Nations and friendly countries within the framework of efforts to move the crisis towards a comprehensive settlement in line with relevant international references, stressing the need to take practical and effective steps to step towards resolving the crisis.
In the context of discussing the full implementation of the outputs of the Amman Statement issued on May 1, 2023, the participants affirmed that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is the political solution, and expressed the aspiration to resume work on the Syrian constitutional track, and to hold the next meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in the Sultanate of Oman with facilitation and coordination with the nations. the United States before the end of this year. They also agreed on the importance of seriously completing this path, as it is one of the main axes on the road to ending the crisis and achieving the desired political settlement and national reconciliation.
Emphasizing the need to intensify efforts to alleviate the human suffering of the brotherly Syrian people and within the framework of the responsibility of the international community to fulfill its obligations in this regard, the participants welcomed the announcement by the United Nations and the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to reach an agreement on August 7, 2023 regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing. for 6 months. They also welcomed the Syrian government’s decision to extend the opening of the “Bab al-Salama” and “Al-Rai” crossings to humanitarian aid until November 13, 2023. The members of the Liaison Committee expressed their aspiration for the continuation of aid and its delivery to those in need, and encouraged the Syrian government to consider extending the use of these crossings for other periods in order to achieve the interests of Syrian people.
The Liaison Committee and the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates stressed the need to address the refugee crisis with all its consequences for the Syrian people and the countries hosting them, and the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Syrian government and the countries hosting refugees, to organize and facilitate the voluntary and safe return of refugees and end their suffering, in coordination with the relevant United Nations bodies, foremost among them The High Commissioner for Refugees, and in accordance with the procedures and determinants in force in this regard, and considering it a priority that must be worked on.
The participants also stressed the intensification of work with the international community and the United Nations to accelerate the implementation of early recovery projects, and expand the scope of humanitarian activities while building the necessary foundations for recovery.
In connection with this, the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates explained the measures and facilities taken by Syria, and referred to the existing cooperation and dialogue with the High Commissioner for Refugees, highlighting the facilities provided by the Syrian government to the UNHCR to carry out its work in Syria, and confirmed that it continues to take and intensify these measures, including facilitating the opening of More offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the areas of refugee return, and to announce periodically the measures it is taking to facilitate the return of refugees, including within the framework of their inclusion in presidential amnesty decrees. He also affirmed the continuation of the regular announcement of data on the numbers of returning refugees, the Syrian government’s keenness to continue constructive engagement with the UNHCR on refugee return issues, and the continuation of work between Syria and Jordan as indicated in the Amman statement and in coordination with United Nations bodies and to achieve the return of a thousand refugees from Jordan. .
The importance of:
Providing incentives and facilities to be provided to returning refugees, and coordination procedures with the countries hosting them.
Work to create a platform to register the names of refugees wishing to return, in coordination with the host countries and relevant United Nations bodies.
The Syrian government should provide information about the needs of the areas to which refugees will return.
The committee stressed the need to intensify efforts to exchange abductees and detainees and to search for missing persons in cooperation with international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. In this context, the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates affirmed that his country continues to work to release all kidnapped Syrians, and to announce periodically what is happening in this regard. This is in connection with efforts, including disclosing information to their families and whereabouts if available, in the context of the Syrian government carrying out its national duty in this regard.
The participants welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Jordanian-Syrian joint security committee to control borders and combat drug production and smuggling in July 2023. The participants also welcomed the joint cooperation between the governments of Iraq and Syria in the field of drug control through the exchange of information, which resulted in the dismantling of an international smuggling network that was smuggling drugs in The countries of the region during the month of August 2023, as well as preparing to conclude a memorandum of understanding between the two countries in this regard. The participants also expressed their aspiration for the continuation and intensification of joint cooperation between Syria and the countries of the region, in a way that serves the efforts to combat drug production and smuggling in the region in order to end this growing danger.
The members of the Arab Ministerial Liaison Committee stressed the need to support efforts to combat terrorism in Syria, and the call for intensified cooperation between the Syrian government, the concerned countries and the United Nations, and for the international community to play an effective role in eliminating this threat in all its forms and manifestations, and to eradicate all its sources, and to support Syria and its institutions in their legitimate efforts in combating terrorism. Preserving the country’s sovereignty and security, ending the presence of armed and terrorist groups on Syrian territory, and the exit of all illegal foreign forces, in accordance with the provisions of international law and consistent with the Charter of the United Nations, and preserving the security of Syria and the region.
The Liaison Committee provided the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic with proposals to implement the Amman Declaration.
In general, the Liaison Committee took note of the efforts made by the Syrian Arab Republic in various fields, and the Committee encourages the Syrian government to continue the steps and procedures for dealing with all the consequences of the Syrian crisis, in a way that achieves the aspirations of the brotherly Syrian people to overcome the relevant challenges and move towards a better tomorrow.
The participants expressed their thanks to the Arab Republic of Egypt for inviting and hosting the meeting, and their appreciation for the positive involvement of the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants during it, who in turn expressed the gratitude of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic for the role of the Arab Liaison Committee, and its commitment to work through it with the aim of restoring Syria to its normal position on the Arab and international arenas within the framework of Strengthening the mechanisms of joint Arab action.
The participants agreed to hold the next meeting of the Liaison Committee with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic in Baghdad and to form a contact group at the level of experts to follow up and prepare for the next meeting.