Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on August 21, 2017 AFP
The Small Group on Syria, which includes Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US, issued a statement on Thursday opposing forced demographic changes on Syrian lands, and called upon players in northeast Syria to implement an immediate ceasefire and seize military offensives.
“We also call for an immediate and genuine cessation of hostilities in Idlib, including an immediate halt to attacks against civilians. In addition, we stress the need to deal effectively with the terrorist threat emanating from Idlib and northwest Syria,” the joint statement, which was published by the US State Department, added.
The seven countries voiced their strong support of the work of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The resolution, which was signed by the foreign ministers of the seven countries, supported a nationwide ceasefire, the creation of a genuine and representative Syrian constitution, the mass release of political prisoners, as well as UN-supervised elections that are free, fair and credible.
The statement comes a few weeks after the UN opened the door to progress in the political resolution, launching the Constitutional Committee, which is believed to be first step towards a political resolution.
The foreign ministers expressed “commitment to the enduring defeat of the Islamic State and other UN designated terrorist groups and remind the international community that a political settlement in Syria remains essential to sustainably achieving this shared goal.”