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On May 11, 2020, Geir PEDERSEN, the UN special envoy for Syria called for talks between Russia and the US to help end the more than nine-year-old war. He said the two major powers could play a “key role” in this situation.

Geir PEDERSEN told the 15-member UN Security Council that since the war started too many “fleeting opportunities to turn dynamics towards a political path were lost”. He warned that “missed moments were followed by renewed violence and a hardening of positions”.

With some calm, with the common threats of COVID and ISIS, and with the Syrian people continuing to suffer, I want to stress that renewed and meaningful international cooperation, building trust and confidence between international stakeholders and with Syrians … is essential”. “I believe that Russian-American dialogue has a key role to play here, and I encourage them to pursue it” he said.

There is a need to come together to support a renewed effort in a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process” towards a political settlement based on the 2015 Security Council resolution that endorsed a road map to peace including drafting a new constitution and UN-supervised elections.

The encouragement to Moscow and Washington on Monday to take a leading role was the first public appeal of Geir PEDERSEN to the rival powers on opposing sides of the conflict. Russia which has been the key backer of Syrian President Bashar ASSAD and the US which supports the opposition.

Northwestern Syria is the last major piece of territory held by rebels fighting Al-ASSAD.

Al-ASSAD, backed by Russia and Iran waged his latest offensive to recover the area earlier this year.

The longstanding divisions between the US and Russia over Syria were evident in their speeches to the council that followed, which gave no indication of a desire for talks.

Kelly CRAFT, the US Ambassador said fully implementing the 2015 road map, starting with an immediate nationwide cease-fire, is “what will move Syria toward a future of peace”. She urged the council to ensure that the Syrian government reverse “its destructive pattern of behavior against its own people” and agree to a cease-fire.

Vassily NEBENZIA, Russia’s Ambassador to UN called for the lifting of unilateral “suffocating sanctions” imposed by the US and others. He said these sanctions were preventing Syria from buying medical items to tackle COVID-19. He criticized the illegal presence of US forces in northeast Syria.

NEBENZIA said that the Syrians themselves need to address common threats including the coronavirus, terrorism, foreign occupation, and restoration of the country’s unity and territorial integrity.

The external community should come together to provide humanitarian assistance and the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria to facilitate the political process without interfering in it” he said.

This article was edited using the data from the,, and

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