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Mister Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for coming to Geneva, the city of peace. It is a pleasure and an honor to welcome you in Switzerland. The Swiss Government very much appreciates that you all have accepted to follow Kofi Annan’s call to meet here today. Geneva reflects the United Nations ant its universal values of freedom, human dignity and responsibility for the fate of the world.
In times of crises, there are crucial moments. Your meeting in Geneva is such a moment. Your presence today can and should mark, not the end, but at least the beginning of the end of violence and the beginning of dialogue and reconstruction.
Over fifteen months ago the first protests erupted in Syria. A too long time of fear and hate… Well over ten thousand persons have died, killed in sometimes horrible circumstances. Thousands are being missed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. This is deeply revolting.
The world has to find a way to rapidly end the bloodshed. Based on the UN Charter we - the peoples of the United Nations – have a common responsibility and duty
- to end the killing and to stop human rights violations,
- to restore security for the Syrian people,
- to prevent the conflict from threatening regional stability,
- to facilitate a Syrian-led transition to democracy and to the respect of the rule of law.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Today is a truly crucial moment for the solution of the crisis. Today can and should mark a true turning point, first of all for the victims. This will include guaranteeing the access of humanitarian organizations to all those that have been afflicted as well as providing them with justice. Justice is the best remedy against revenge and the perpetuation of violence.
A second major concern is regional stability: the risk of a contagion of the crisis is there for everybody to see. Tens of thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries long for their homes; and I would like to commend Syria’s neighbours which as part of the international humanitarian response show their generosity towards people in need.
We all want to see Syria a secure and stable place. A place where a variety of communities and religions can live a normal, peaceful life and where citizens can freely chose their leaders.
A common plan for a transition to normalcy is necessary, based on the aspirations of the Syrian people and inspired by the commonly shared values of the United Nations. Syria needs a comprehensive plan, which includes all important actors. No plan can undo the past and the present. But it can shape a better future, and lead us to peace and justice. This is why Switzerland supports Kofi Annan’s plan and the proposals for your discussion today.
In the name of Switzerland I encourage you to continue to work relentlessly towards ending the violence; towards listening to the Syrian people of all different backgrounds and acknowledging their aspirations and fears; and towards convincing all the actors to commit themselves to a political solution.
The international community has to prevent the situation from getting even worse. You are committed and aware of this great responsibility. The vast majority of Syrians and of the world wants you to succeed together. Indeed, the world has no choice but to succeed and to stop the atrocities.
Coming to Geneva, you are undertaking a new phase. Your presence here is a strong sign of the world’s determination to achieve peace and democracy in Syria. Today’s results must be an important step towards the realization of the hopes of the Syrian people.
My country therefore stands ready to do its utmost to support you in this essential endeavor.