The Action Group for Syria: the UN, the Arab League, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the EU, and Turkey.
Geneva I: the UN/Arab League-backed meeting attended by the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States), and the European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, held at the United Nations Office in Geneva, and chaired by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria.
The Friends of Syria Group: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and the United States.
The Geneva Process is a joint United Nations/Arab League effort to bring about a Syrian-led political (negotiated) solution to the unrest in Syria.
The process is the continuation of the efforts of the Arab League, which began in the fall of 2011, to resolve the unrest in Syria. The UN was included in the process in early 2012.
The primary guiding document of the Geneva Process is the Final communiqué of the Action Group for Syria which was agreed to by the members of the Action Group for Syria at Geneva I on June 30, 2012.
Other documents which are necessary to understand the Geneva Process are UN Security Council Resolution 2042, which contains the Six-Point Proposal of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and Arab League Resolution 7444.
Other relevant documents, which also provide historic background information, are UN General Assembly Resolution 66/253B, UN Security Council Resolution 2043, UN General Assembly Resolution 66/253, and UN General Assembly Resolution 66/176.
• The main objectives of the members of the Action Group for Syria are:
- Maintaining the sovereignty, independence, national unity, and territorial integrity of Syria;
- Ending the violence in Syria;
- Facilitating the launch of a Syrian-led political process (negotiaitions) which leads to a transition, formed with the mutual consent of the Syrian Government and the opposition, that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria agreed that any political settlement (negotiaitions) must deliver a transition that (directly from the communiqué):
- Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in the Syrian Arab Republic;
- Establishes clear steps according to a firm timetable towards the realization of that perspective;
- Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all and of stability and calm;
- Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible;
• The members of the Action Group for Syria also agreed that women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria envision a State:
- which is a lasting multiparty democracy where established and newly emerging political actors compete fairly and equally in elections,
- which is governed by the rule of law, complies with international standards on human rights, and has an independent judiciary,
- which has accountability of those in Government with mechanisms available to the people to ensure the accountability of those in authority,
- which offers equal opportunities and chances for all with no sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds, and
- where the rights of numerically smaller communities are respected.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria agreed that the key steps in any transition include:
- The establishment of a country-wide ceasefire, monitored by a UN monitoring mission, which would provide a neutral environment in which a transitional governing body can function and which would also provide humanitarian organizations immediate and full humanitarian access to all areas affected by the fighting.
- A transitional governing body, formed with the mutual consent of the Syrian Government and the opposition, taking power and exercising full executive powers.
Members of the present Government, the opposition, and other groups could be included in the transitional governing body which must preserve or restore public services, the continuity of governmental institutions, and qualified staff - including the military forces and security services.
All governmental institutions, including the intelligence services, would have to perform according to human rights and professional standards and operate under the control of the transitional governing body.
- The implementaion of the key outcomes of an inclusive and meaningful national dialogue process, during which the Syrian people determine the future of their country and in which all groups and segments of society in Syria participate.
- As an outgrowth of the national dialogue process, the review of the constitutional order and the legal system in Syria and the submission of any resulting draft constitution to a referendum.
- The preparation for and holding of free and fair multiparty elections to elect a new government.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria agreed that (directly from the communiqué):
Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria called for the Syrian Government to appointment an effective empowered interlocutor when requested by the Joint Special Envoy to do so.
• The members of the Action Group for Syria urged the opposition to increase cohesion and to be in a position to ensure that effective representative interlocutors will be available to participate in the process set out in the communiqué.
There have been many developments in Syria in the past two weeks and I am writing about them and how they may effect the Geneva Process. I wanted to publish this summary first as a little background.