MEPs reiterate the need for a political solution to the Syria conflict
The Foreign Affairs and Development Committee Chairs deliver remarks during the ministerial meeting at the IV Brussels conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region.
The Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, David McAllister (EPP, DE) and the Chair of the Committee on Development, Tomas Tobé (EPP, SE), participated in the meeting of Foreign Ministers held in the framework of the IV Brussels Conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region, on Tuesday 30 June.
Both Mr McAllister and Mr Tobé delivered remarks during the meeting, which was held remotely.
Political solution needed
The Foreign Affairs Committee Chair intervened during the first part of the afternoon plenary session, which was co-chaired by European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi. Mr McAllister stressed that from the beginning of the conflict in Syria, the European Parliament has provided a strong mandate to the European Commission and the European External Action Service in deploying all efforts to find a political solution to the conflict and for their capacity to continue to provide relief to the Syrian population both in Syria and in neighbouring countries. He also underlined that a political solution to the conflict must remain the primary objective of the international community. The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must come to the negotiating table and show a clear commitment to resolving the conflict, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. There is no way around this fundamental principle and this is why it is important to ensure that the resources devoted to the immediate relief of the Syrian people will not be used for reconstruction purposes or longer-term relief in Syria, unless there is a clear commitment by the Syrian regime to adhere to the Geneva process and until a political process is underway. Mr McAllister reminded all participants that the future of Syria also very much depends on the Syrian refugees who will choose to return – once the conflict is over. They will play an active role in rebuilding their country. Facilitating access to education and to longer-term socio-economic integration for Syrian refugees is essential. Mr McAllister concluded his intervention by inviting Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria of the UN Secretary General, to the European Parliament to continue the dialogue on ways to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
The EU must protect the most vulnerable
The Chair of the Committee on Development intervened during the second part of the afternoon plenary session, which was co-chaired by European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič. Mr Tobé recalled how only a week ago, Parliament’s Budgets Committee approved an additional EUR 585 million to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in areas such as education, livelihoods, health, sanitation, water and waste services, and social protection. This is one more example of the continued commitment of the EU and its Member States – the largest donors when it comes to responding to the Syria crisis – to support the populations in need and especially those most vulnerable, such as women, children, minorities or people with disabilities. Mr Tobé, reiterated the demand of the European Parliament to respect humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, as well as safe, timely and unhindered access for humanitarian organisations throughout Syria, including through the authorisation of cross-border and cross-conflict-line humanitarian access as authorised in UN Security Council resolutions. The Chair of the Development Committee also echoed the message of the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs that the only way forward in resolving the conflict in Syria is a political solution under the auspices of the UN-led Geneva process. Until then, the international community has the responsibility to provide assistance and advocate for the protection of the Syrian population. This is what the European Parliament, and the European Union as a whole, have done for years, and will continue to do.