ROME, DECEMBER 31 – Italy will occupy starting tomorrow one of the 10 non-permanent seats of the Security Council. On the eve of the beginning of the new one-year turn, a round of calls were placed by Italian authorities to discuss the most pressing international events. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni talked on the phone with the new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano called today the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Guterres, a Portuguese Prime Minister and for ten years the head of UNHCR, will start his five-year mandate tomorrow as well, succeeding the former South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon.
In his call with de Mistura, Alfano confirmed Italy’s support for the truce reached by Assad and the Syrian rebels through the mediation of Russia and Turkey, and expressed his firm hope that this might “relaunch a shared political process in compliance with UN Resolution 2254″.
Minister Alfano noticed that “starting tomorrow Italy will have a seat at the United Nations Security Council and will play its part to make sure that the International Community does not miss this important negotiating opportunity to relaunch the political process and to promptly assure to all the Syrian people access to humanitarian aid.”
It was the second call in the last few days between Minister Alfano and de Mistura. In the first call, and in another telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Italian Minister emphasized that Italy “is in the front line with a view to strengthening cooperation in the fight against terrorism also in light of the upcoming presidency of the G7.” Alfano also maintained that ” it is necessary for the United Nations to be able to monitor the evacuation of civilians from East Aleppo”.
Today the UN Security Council gave its blessing to a fragile ceasefire in Syria, the third truce this year seeking to end the nearly six years of war in Syria, brokered by Russia and Turkey. The resolution, approved unanimously, welcomes and supports the efforts by Russia and Turkey to end violence in Syria and jumpstart a political process for the war-torn Middle Eastern country, buts stops short of officially endorsing the truce. Language referring to an endorsement was removed before the final vote because Western powers wanted to clarify the role of the UN in the agreement.
The Council instead “took note of” the documents issued by Russia and Turkey about the agreements the two countries have brokered, including a nationwide ceasefire and a plan to convene political talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, between the Syrian Government and opposition groups, in January.
The Council “looks forward to” that meeting in Astana, viewing it as “an important part of the Syrian-led political process” and “an important step ahead of the resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on 8 February 2017.” (@OnuItalia)