1. On 30 June 2012, the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Turkey, Iraq (Chair of the Summit of the League of Arab States), Kuwait (Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States) and Qatar (Chair of the Arab Follow-up Committee on Syria of the League of Arab States) and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy met at the United Nations Office at Geneva as the Action Group for Syria, chaired by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to Syria.
2. The members of the Action Group came together out of grave alarm at the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. They strongly condemn the continued and escalating killing, destruction and human rights abuses. They are deeply concerned at the failure to protect civilians, the intensification of the violence, the potential for even deeper conflict in the country and the regional dimensions of the problem. The unacceptable nature and magnitude of the crisis demands a common position and joint international action.
3. The members of the Action Group are committed to the sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. They are determined to work urgently and intensively to bring about an end to the violence and human rights abuses, and to facilitate the launch of a Syrian-led political process leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future.
4. In order to secure these common objectives, the members of the Action Group (a) identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms; (b) agreed on principles and guidelines for a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people; and (c) agreed on actions that they would take to implement the objectives in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process. They are convinced that this can encourage and support progress on the ground and will help to facilitate and support a Syrian-led transition.
Identified steps and measures by the parties to secure the full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms
5. The parties must fully implement the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012). To that end:
(a) All parties must recommit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and to the implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others. The Government and armed opposition groups must cooperate with the United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (UNSMIS), with a view to furthering the implementation of the plan in accordance with the Mission’s mandate;
(b) A cessation of armed violence must be sustained, with immediate, credible and visible actions by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to implement the other items of the six-point plan, including:
(i) Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities; the provision, without delay and through appropriate channels, of a list of all places in which such persons are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such locations; and the provision, through appropriate channels, of prompt responses to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
(ii) Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
(iii) Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully, as legally guaranteed;
(c) In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for the safety and security of UNSMIS and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects;
(d) In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full humanitarian access by humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave must be enabled to do so. All parties must fully adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the protection of civilians.
Agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition
6. The members of the Action Group agreed on the principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led transition set out below.
7. Any political settlement must deliver to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic a transition that:
(a) Offers a perspective for the future that can be shared by all in the Syrian Arab Republic;
(b) Establishes clear steps according to a firm timetable towards the realization of that perspective;
(c) Can be implemented in a climate of safety for all and of stability and calm;
(d) Is reached rapidly without further bloodshed and violence and is credible.
8. Perspective for the future.The aspirations of the people of the Syrian Arab Republic have been clearly expressed by the wide range of Syrians consulted. There is an overwhelming wish for a State that:
(a) Is genuinely democratic and pluralistic, giving space to established and newly emerging political actors to compete fairly and equally in elections. This also means that the commitment to multiparty democracy must be a lasting one, going beyond an initial round of elections;
(b) Complies with international standards on human rights, the independence of the judiciary, accountability of those in Government and the rule of law. It is not enough just to enunciate such a commitment. There must be mechanisms available to the people to ensure that these commitments are kept by those in authority;
(c) Offers equal opportunities and chances for all. There is no room for sectarianism or discrimination on ethnic, religious, linguistic or any other grounds. Numerically smaller communities must be assured that their rights will be respected.
9. Clear steps in the transition.The conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic will end only when all sides are assured that there is a peaceful way towards a common future for all in the country. It is therefore essential that any settlement provide for clear and irreversible steps in the transition according to a fixed time frame. The key steps in any transition include:
(a) The establishment of a transitional governing body that can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place, with the transitional governing body exercising full executive powers. It could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent;
(b) It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country. All groups and segments of society in the Syrian Arab Republic must be enabled to participate in a national dialogue process. That process must be not only inclusive but also meaningful. In other words, its key outcomes must be implemented;
(c) On that basis, there can be a review of the constitutional order and the legal system. The result of constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval;
(d) Upon establishment of the new constitutional order, it will be necessary to prepare for and conduct free and fair multiparty elections for the new institutions and offices that have been established;
(e) Women must be fully represented in all aspects of the transition.
10. Safety, stability and calm.Any transition involves change. However, it is essential to ensure that the transition can be implemented in a way that ensures the safety of all in an atmosphere of stability and calm. This requires:
(a) Consolidation of full calm and stability. All parties must cooperate with the transitional governing body to ensure the permanent cessation of violence. This includes completion of withdrawals and addressing the issue of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of armed groups;
(b) Effective steps to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected and that immediate action is taken to address humanitarian issues in areas of need. It is also necessary to ensure that the release of the detained is completed rapidly;
(c) Continuity of governmental institutions and qualified staff. Public services must be preserved or restored. This includes the military forces and security services. However, all governmental institutions, including the intelligence services, have to perform according to human rights and professional standards and operate under a leadership that inspires public confidence, under the control of the transitional governing body;
(d) Commitment to accountability and national reconciliation. Accountability for acts committed during the present conflict must be addressed. There also needs to be a comprehensive package for transitional justice, including compensation or rehabilitation for victims of the present conflict, steps towards national reconciliation and forgiveness.
11. Rapid steps to come to a credible political agreement.It is for the people of the Syrian Arab Republic to come to a political agreement, but time is running out. It is clear that:
(a) The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be respected;
(b) The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone. Conditions conducive to a political settlement must now be put in place;
(c) There must be an end to the bloodshed. All parties must recommit themselves credibly to the six-point plan. This must include a cessation of armed violence in all its forms and immediate, credible and visible actions to implement points 2 to 6 of the six-point plan;
(d) All parties must now engage genuinely with the Joint Special Envoy. The parties must be prepared to put forward effective interlocutors to work expeditiously towards a Syrian-led settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The process must be fully inclusive in order to ensure that the views of all segments of Syrian society are heard in shaping the political settlement for the transition;
(e) The organized international community, including the members of the Action Group, stands ready to offer significant support for the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties. This may include an international assistance presence under a United Nations mandate if requested. Significant funds will be available to support reconstruction and rehabilitation.
12. Agreed actions that the members of the Group will take to implement the above in support of the Joint Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political process are as follows:
(a) Action Group members will engage as appropriate, and apply joint and sustained pressure on, the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to take the steps and measures outlined in paragraph 5 above;
(b) Action Group members are opposed to any further militarization of the conflict;
(c) Action Group members emphasize to the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic the importance of the appointment of an effective empowered interlocutor, when requested by the Joint Special Envoy to do so, to work on the basis of the six-point plan and the present communiqué;
(d) Action Group members urge the opposition to increase cohesion and to be in a position to ensure effective representative interlocutors to work on the basis of the six-point plan and the present communiqué;
(e) Action Group members will give full support to the Joint Special Envoy and his team as they immediately engage the Government and the opposition, and will consult widely with Syrian society, as well as other international actors, to further develop the way forward;
(f) Action Group members would welcome the further convening by the Joint Special Envoy of a meeting of the Action Group, should he deem it necessary to review the concrete progress taken on all points agreed in the present communiqué and to determine what further and additional steps and actions are needed from the Action Group to address the crisis. The Joint Special Envoy will also keep the United Nations and the League of Arab States informed.