Tuesday, 16 December 2014 10:17

EU Announces Support for De Mistura’s “Freeze” Plan

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said special UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura had briefed foreign ministers on Sunday on plans for a “freeze” between regime and rebel forces in Aleppo. “The aim is a limited local truce to help ease the desperate plight of the civilian population and provide some way forward after repeated efforts to end the war have failed. We would look at what we can do to concretely support the UN ... what we can do to stop the war in Syria,” Mogherini said as she arrived to chair their regular monthly meeting. With few other options open, “it is time to contribute positively to a solution,” she said. The Syrian Coalition has previously demanded guarantees that the freeze will be total and not simply allow the Assad regime to redeploy its troops elsewhere. The EU foreign ministers also voiced serious concern about intensified military action by the Assad regime against opposition-held areas which they said threatened de Mistura’s initiative. The ministers also said that for there to be a reduction of violence, effective monitoring is needed, preferably under U.N. Security Council auspices. “The EU recalls that cases of forced surrender imposed by the Assad regime through starvation sieges were labelled fallaciously as local cease-fires in the past,” the ministers said. The Syrian Coalition informed de Mistura its rejection of the “freeze” plan in Aleppo unless it includes the rest of the Syrian cities to ensure that the Assad regime will not move its troops and redeploy to other areas of Syria such as East Ghouta, Qalamoun and Dara’a. Jawad Abu Hatab, member of the Syrian Coalition, said that “we asked the UN envoy to clarify his plan and demanded that it must be adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in light of the Assad regime’s violation off all previous truces.” De Mistura arrived in Damascus yesterday and met with officials of the Assad regime. This comes days after several meetings held by the UN envoy with officials of the Syrian Coalition and other dissident figures who described the plan as "vague and not based on any binding UN resolution, making it liable to violation.” They also criticized the plan for not sketching in the details of a comprehensive political solution on the basis of the Geneva I declaration that calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body with full powers.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)

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