Syria Presidential Statement and Press Statement
Following negotiations at both expert level and permanent representative level today (20 March), revised drafts of the presidential statement supporting Joint Special Envoy for Syria Kofi Annan and the press statement on the recent terrorist attacks in Syria have gone under silence procedure until 9 am tomorrow (21 March). (The draft press statement had been put under silence yesterday but the UK broke silence this morning.)
It seems progress on the draft presidential statement was made during three hours of expert-level negotiations. However, agreement could not be reached. This resulted in negotiations at permanent representative level this afternoon in informal consultations.
The main issue appears to have been the language used in the draft to reflect Annan’s six-point proposal. It appears that some members had different interpretations of the proposal based on Annan’s briefing in consultations to Council members last Friday (16 March). A compromise was reached and France has now agreed to revise its draft to reflect more precisely the wording used by Annan last Friday. (This morning Russia circulated its version of a draft presidential statement supporting Annan with the details of the six-point proposal in an annex. However, it seems there were no negotiations on this draft.)
It seems that Russia also had problems with having Annan report within a specific time period and language related to the threat of further measures. In response to these concerns, it appears that the draft under silence requests Annan to update the Council in a regular and timely manner on the progress of his mission and to consider further steps as appropriate. It is unclear if this will be sufficient for Russia or whether it will break silence.
Regarding the press statement, minor changes were made and are reflected in the current draft. While there does not appear to be any serious disagreement with the press statement, some members are only willing to agree to it if there is also agreement on the presidential statement.
Follow us on Twitter