EU praises work of outgoing Syrian special envoy

EU praises work of outgoing Syrian special envoy
European Union ambassadors in a joint statement praised the work of outgoing Syrian special envoy Staffan de Mistura.
2 min read
18 October, 2018
Staffan de Mistura will quit his post next month [Getty]

Ambassadors from the European Union issued a joint statement on Wednesday supporting the work of the UN special envoy for Syria after he announced that he was stepping down at the end of November.

"We express our full support for the efforts of Staffan de Mistura Special Envoy for Syria to establish urgently a credible and legitimate constitutional committee to advance United Nations efforts to achieve a sustainable political solution to the conflict in Syria in line with the Security Council resolution 2254," a statement read by Olof Skoog, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, said.

The joint statement called on all parties "to constructively engage with the special envoy with the aim of as quickly as possible and without any further delays convening a credible and inclusive constitutional committee and we encourage the special envoy to report back to the Security Council shortly."  

Staffan de Mistura, wanting to quash speculation, said that his decision to step down had nothing to do with his health.

"I've always been indicating to the Secretary-General my plans for personal reasons which is not heath," de Mistura said, "it's family basically. So no speculation on that."

The UN-led effort to set up the constitutional committee - that will include regime officials, opposition members and members of Syria's civil society- has been resisted by Damascus.

In 2014, De Mistura became the third UN diplomat tasked with ending the Syria war which erupted in 2011, when Syrian soldiers defected from the military after a series of regime massacres.

Since then, around 500,000 people have lost their lives in the war - the vast majority civilians killed by regime and Russian bombing or shelling - while more than half of Syria's population have been made homeless.

De Mistura's predecessor, Lakhdar Brahimi, resigned after becoming frustrated by the failure of Geneva peace talks.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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