WORLD CITIZENS CALL FOR A CEASEFIRE AND RENEWED GOOD-FAITH NEGOTIATIONS BY ALL PARTIES IN SYRIA
By René Wadlow
World Citizens have called for good-faith negotiations among all the parties from the start of the demonstrations in March 2011 which had begun in a spirit of non-violence. Neither the Government nor the oppositions were willing to set an agenda or a timetable for such good-faith negotiations. The Government held out vague promises for reform but without details and without open discussion among those concerned. As the fighting has escalated, the possibility of good-faith negotiations has increasingly faded, despite efforts by the United Nations (UN) mediators to facilitate such negotiations.
Discussion of specific issues for reform or setting an overall agenda seems impossible for the moment. However, there is a growing awareness that there is a dangerous stalemate and that there is no military “solution”. It is often at this “stalemate” stage of a conflict that the parties turn to a negotiated compromise.[i] The dangers of a wider conflict with more States involved are real. Thus the situation requires careful concerted action.
The use of chemical weapons in violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol (by government forces or by the armed opposition) has added an additional element of danger but not modified the stalemated structure of the conflict.
Therefore, the Association of World Citizens (AWC) calls upon the Syrian Government, armed opposition, and representative associations of Syrians to initiate a ceasefire followed quickly by good-faith negotiations.
The AWC calls upon all other States to refrain from arming or in other ways strengthening the military capacities of the Government’s armed forces and the armed forces of the armed oppositions. Other States should, through the UN and through other institutions, encourage good-faith negotiations.
The AWC calls upon Nongovernmental Organizations, both Syrian and international, to facilitate the transition from the ongoing violence to a situation conducive to creative dialogue.
René Wadlow is President and Chief Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva of the Association of World Citizens.
[i] See: Louis Kriesberg and Stuart Thorson (Eds), Timing the De-Escalation of International Conflicts (Syracuse University Press, 1991)