Mercoledì, 13 Novembre 2019
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Conferenza stampa Staffan De Mistura sul cessate il fuoco in Siria

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14 sett - Riportiamo qui di seguito la trascrizione della conferenza stampa tenuta il 13 settembre da Staffan De Mistura, Inviato Speciale del Segretario Generale per la Siria, riguardo al cessate il fuoco attualmente in vigore nel Paese.

Good afternoon.  Let me first of all make some general comments then of course I will take questions.  
First of all, today, perhaps just now according to our timing, but you know they are referring to the Damascus timing, is almost and in fact beyond 24 hours from the 7:00 p.m. that marked yesterday the beginning of the cessation of hostilities.  So regarding that, according to the agreement, it is up to the two co-chairs to actually make a formal assessment of the situation after 48 hours, so I would imagine that the status of the cessation of hostilities, phase one, will be probably assessed by the two co-chairs, if not tomorrow evening, certainly on Thursday morning on the occasion of the meeting that we will have here, the HTF and the cessation of hostilities task force.  
So on our side,  I will be making just comments, general comments and limit myself to general comments, but based on the type of information that we have and  based also on indications that we get from the field, but you should not consider this as the formal assessment of the current situation of the cessation of hostilities.
So based on that I will tell you that yesterday we did see some level of violence continue after sunset, including some allegations of air strikes and some allegation of mortar shelling near Castello road by the opposition in this case.  However, let’s be quite clear, by early morning every report we have been seeing indicates a significant, significant drop in violence.  
Today calm appears to have prevailed across Hama, Latakkia, Aleppo city and rural Aleppo and Idlib, with only some allegations of sporadic and geographically isolated incidents.  Sources on the ground, which do matter, including inside Aleppo city say that the situation has dramatically improved with no air strikes.  Damascus and central Syria were also calm with some reports limited to some clashes around Harasta between government and armed opposition forces.  And then as you do know there are some exceptions in the south, in particular related to Al Qunaitra at the moment between al-Nusra front and government forces.  And there has also been some other incidents.
The bottom line, comparing to the previous days, there is, no doubt, a significant drop in violence.  Of course this is only 24 hours, the 48 hours’ benchmark is going to be important because that is the one which will be assessed by the two co-chairs regarding the level of health of the cessation of hostilities which they have agreed upon on Friday night.  Then hopefully we have another five days of cessation of hostilities and then as you know there are other benchmarks that are expected to take place.  
So what does this tell us? First of all as you have noticed both the Russian Federation of course and the USA, which are the two co-chairs, but the government of Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, armed opposition have all voiced in one form or the other a support to the agreement.  
So where is the most delicate part of it, you may ask and we will have to say, well, first of all avoid that any incident which is unavoidable in a conflict of five years, with so many fighting and moving parts, could then move further into making the cessation of hostilities very fragile, so avoiding any type of snowball effect of any incident.  Second the issue which has always been the case, but even more so now that has been clearly specified, is how the disengagement between the armed opposition groups from al-Nusra will take place within a week, that is quite a challenge and we will have to watch that very carefully.
Now regarding humanitarian assistance, some homework needs to be done by everyone at the moment.  WFP which is the main logistical and organizational organization linked to the convoys is ready with 20 trucks, you must have seen it, perhaps you have seen some pictures.  They are loaded and ready.  Now the homework is also on other sides.  The government which does control the Castello road, until there is some further movements related to the agreement, needs to allow unhindered access to those trucks, basing itself on the agreed agreement which applying UN MM approach, which in jargon means what is being done already in the past a simple notification to the government about what is the content in the trucks and then no checking on UN trucks that have been sealed and then after that a report of what has been distributed inside eastern Aleppo for instance.  On the receiving side, the Aleppo provincial council needs to accept the fact that this aid is urgent and it is according to UN approach and according to a well-recognized agreement.  In other words no conditions or preconditions in order to make sure that this aid can reach the vert people where needed.  
And on the Russian side of course, helping this unhindered convoys’ approach which we are understanding is being worked on.
Now all that in order to say that the UN is ready, there is some little homework that still needs to be done, by others as well.  But there is no reason to not believe that the UN access should be taking place very very soon.  
What is our priority? Eastern Aleppo, no doubt because they have been isolated long enough, they have been isolated also due to the circumstances of the conflict.  West Aleppo is being reached, is regularly being reached through even commercial convoys and the UN is ready through the warehouses to distribute to the large population which is there.  And then all the besieged areas listed in the September plan.  Now trucks are ready for that and as you know we conveyed to you publicly what has been announced by the government that they had given permission but what is missing still is the famous authorization letters from the government.  We are asking them to issue them very quickly so that we can always, all of us take advantage of this reduction of violence in order to be able to make sure that not only eastern Aleppo, western Aleppo but everywhere else convoys can start moving.  We have not yet received those authorization letters, but we are eagerly hoping and expecting the government to issue them very soon.
Regarding monitoring, which is an issue that you may want to raise, well at the moment the mechanism is the one which has been already quite well established in this building between the Russians and the Americans presence into one operations center and I am sure that additional complements for that monitoring of this cessation of hostilities are being established through other technological means, but I think that is an issue for them to answer to.
Timing: well, if 48 hours work out and we are able to have also humanitarian access as we have agreed, in other words unhindered and without conditionality, neither by the government nor frankly by the opposition then people will be seeing a reduction of violence and increase of humanitarian aid, in other words, no bombs and more trucks followed by what could be the creation of this joint center between Russians and the Americans and then a possible ISSG meeting which could take place in New York during the General Assembly, followed by the 21 September Security Council meeting specially on Syria which then could be followed by the indication of the nature and the invitations for the political process because we all know and we are the first ones to know, that all this is important and needs to be established but once it takes place to be sustains needs also the political process to be on the horizon.
That’s basically where we are at the moment.  
Q. We read that the trucks that you mentioned where already moving and crossing the border, are they moving and stopping before Aleppo and waiting for the letter of the authorization? Or are they standing in Turkey for now.
SdeM: First of all, I have no information about any UN trucks at this stage moving across, why? Because the UN is ready but as I told you there is a, need of assurances that the drivers and the convoys will be unhindered and untouched, b, that there is no need for a letter of authorization but simple notification to the government of what is inside those trucks and three the receiving end, the so-called provincial councils will put no preconditions since people are in need.  That needs to be taken care of, there is some homework to be done by others but we are ready but trucks have not yet moved.
Q. I just want to go over the issue of permission again, this morning OCHA told us that as of September 6th the government granted permission for eastern Aleppo, the Four Towns and another place, the name of which is currently escaping me.  Is this currently where we are or you are still waiting for subsequent permissions from Damascus, specifically for eastern Aleppo and the Four Towns?
SdeM: For eastern Aleppo and western Aleppo the agreement between the Russian Federation and the US is clearly indicating unhindered access, in other words the method which needs to be applied is what is called the UN MM which is different from the one which has been applied to Darayya, Moadameya and other places, which says that the government of Syria, rightly, should be notified simply about the fact that 20 trucks are moving with the following items and then notify through a report what is being distributed into them, that is what applies to eastern Aleppo.  
Q. Today Russia said that 22 groups of opposition said that they will continue fighting. What is your opinion about this?
SdeM: I am not in a business of opinions on those type of things as you can imagine, the cessation of hostilities agreement between the Russian Federation and the American Secretary of State is very clear about how to proceed and I think that that will be even more clear in the next few days.
Q. Aujourd’hui on a entendu que la Turquie peut-être enverra de l’aide humanitaire. Est-ce que les Nations Unies laissent passer l’aide humanitaire hors le control des Nations Unies ? le gouvernement Syrien a fait opposition a ce genre de declarations [inaudible], aujourd’hui aussi le gouvernment Syrien a dit qu’il ne laissera pas passer des convois sans le contrôle du gouvernment ou bien des Russes. Quelle est votre opinion ?
SdeM. La question est la suivante. L’ONU est emmenée à ramener des convois de l’ONU, WFP, ça fait partie de l’accord. Le reste, commercial ou non-commercial ça va dépendre d’autres phases, donc c’est seulement des convois de l’ONU. Second point, pour ce qui concerne la permission d’aller à estern Aleppo, je vous ai expliqué que l’accord entre la Russie et l’Amérique est très clair, ça s’applique le système UN MM, c’est-à-dire notification, pas demander la permission. Une fois que l’aide arrive on aura un rapport sur quoi et comment on a distribué. A ce moment-là, pour easern et western Aleppo il y a une situation spéciale.
Q. We were in a privileged position of talking to someone here who had actually seen this plan, none of the rest of us know what the US and the Russians had signed up to, so wanted to ask you a couple of things, you say you are an optimist, but how optimistic are you that this could really be the road to peace now.  And secondly what about the detainees, this word has not been mentioned in this plan, is there any mention in the plan about detainees? Thank you
SdeM.  I am not in a position of giving all the details of the plan, this is something that the two co-chairs, the Russian Federation and the US own in a way.  We have been helping, but we do not have that ownership.  So I will leave it to them to answer.  Regarding detainees, I can tell you that there is no reference in this agreement on the detainees issues, which remains a very important issue and I think needs to be addressed in a different context but needs to be addressed.  
Thank you. 

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