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Syria: EU appeal to be followed by London summit – Italy calls for humanitarian corridors to be opened

From the call launched by the EU at the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 October in Luxembourg to the “Friends of Syria” summit in London. The central topic is the outlook for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, including through the “Geneva 2” conference.

The EU urged all sides of the conflict to respond positively to this call and to adhere publicly to a credible political transition based on the principles set forth at the first Geneva Conference. The objective of the Geneva 2 Conference must be the establishment of a transitional governing body (TGB) with full executive powers and control of all governmental and all security institutions. For this reason, the EU calls on the opposition to participate actively at the conference and encourages the Syrian National Coalition to take a leading role during negotiations.

Friends of Syria summit: Deputy Minister Pistelli to attend

Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli will be representing Italy at the restricted “Friends of Syria” group meeting in London, where he will reiterate the need for the principal international and regional actors to support the Geneva process in concrete terms. He will call on them to exercise their positive influence on the parties in conflict to ensure that favourable conditions are created on the ground for the negotiating process to begin.

Pistelli will underscore the urgent need, a need that Foreign Minister Emma Bonino herself underlined in Luxembourg, to provide access for humanitarian assistance in regions particularly badly hit by the conflict. If necessary, this could be done through timely local ceasefires. The London summit is being attended by the Syrian National Coalition, and by the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who will then travel to Rome for a meeting with Minister Bonino. And on Friday 25 October Minister Bonino will be meeting her British colleague, William Hague, in London.

Negotiated solution – the outlook

The meeting in London comes at a decisive stage of the Syrian conflict, after months of stalemate on the diplomatic front. The recent developments surrounding the chemical weapons dossier and the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution could kick-start the political process for a negotiated solution, with, most notably, the hoped-for Geneva conference.