India on Friday expressed concern over the involvement of external actors in Syria, which has led to an increase in terrorism there, adding that long-term security and stability of the region can only be achieved by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
In a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) briefing, Prakash Gupta, Joint Secretary (UNP), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), called upon all sides to remain engaged in discussions on the ‘bridging proposal’ put forth by the Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen in April.
He also said that there has been no progress since the implementation of the UN-facilitated Constitutional Committee process for preparing and drafting for popular approval, a constitution, which will contribute to the political settlement in Syria.
“Let me reiterate once again that for the UN-led political track to move forward, we need cooperation from all major stakeholders in the conflict. The political transition in Syria facilitated by the UN is not an exclusive process. The stakeholders need to bridge existing divides by focusing on measured incremental positive steps,” he said.
India also condemned a recent attack on a hospital in Afrin city in northern Syria, which killed innocent civilians, saying that it underscores the need for a nationwide comprehensive ceasefire.
“Across the country, including in northwestern Syria, fighting along the frontlines has continued in one form or the other, putting the lives of innocent civilians in jeopardy. It is also a matter of concern that the fundamental principles of international law, such as non-interference in the internal affairs of States, respect for territorial integrity and independence have been repeatedly violated in Syria,” said Gupta.
The MEA Joint Secretary called on the international community to reflect on the involvement of foreign actors regarding the Syrian conflict with all earnestness and stressed the need for consistency in strongly condemning terrorism.
“The reports of the presence of mercenaries from Syria in Africa is equally worrying. It is imperative that all parties adhere to their international obligations to fight terrorism and terrorist organizations in Syria, as designated by the Security Council,” he said.
“India firmly believes that long-term security and stability of this region can only be achieved by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We also remain convinced that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” Gupta concluded.