UN envoy de Mistura,'don't repeat Libya's mistakes in Syria'

'Don't void institutions. Aleppo test for peace'

23 February, 11:51

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

    (by Valeria Robecco) (ANSAmed) - NEW YORK - The mistakes committed in Libya should not be repeated in Syria - voiding institutions would mean leaving the country in the hands of ISIS, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warns.

    What occurred in Syria should ''be a lesson for Libya'', the Italian-Swedish diplomat told ANSA in an interview. ''The Islamic State is like political Ebola which takes advantage of the body's weakness, of the frailty of a nation''.

    ''I have learned with my eyes, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, how one of the things to avoid when there is UN-backed international intervention is to scrap local institutions''.

    The diplomat said a scenario like the one seen in Libya after Gaddafi's fall should be avoided. And the same mistake committed in Syria should also be avoided in the North African country.

    ''If the problem of the crisis in the Middle Eastern State had been confronted two or three years ago in a more proactive manner, we would not be at the point where we are now. This is a lesson for Libya'', said de Mistura.

    The diplomat noted that everybody is now aware that no one can win the conflict in Syria and a political solution is necessary. ''These were just words before, but the very aggressive entrance of ISIS in the country and, afterwards, the US-led coalition's intervention have radically changed the scenario''.

    However, de Mistura believes there is still room for political intervention, which has led to the idea of carrying out a test on Aleppo. Addressing the UN Security Council, the envoy has announced that the Syrian government has said it is willing to stop bombing the city for six weeks.

    The effort, he noted, could be extended to 'break the ice' and be a real test for peace. ''Aleppo is iconic'', he explained. ''It has been besieged for a long time and risks falling at any time. If this occurred, there would be another 400,000 or 500,000 refugees''. Moreover, he continued, ''it is the last great contested city. This is why it has great meaning for both sides and we must not forget that people need a moment of hope, to see that a political debate is ongoing''.

    The real problem, as with all announcements, is verifying whether they will become real: ''This is why I will go to Damascus in a few days'', he explained.

    ''If the promise will be respected, through the international community and the EU, with Federica Mogherini who has been very active, we could bring forward an accelerated humanitarian intervention, showing that when there is a moment of calm in a war, the population immediately has a great advantage'', he said.

    De Mistura has no illusions and knows the conflict is considered a 'mission impossible' where his predecessors Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi have already failed. ''This is because there are more internal and external interventions, if I had to calculate how many entities and governments are involved, I would say perhaps 18'', he revealed. ''The UN negotiates and must negotiate will all, the only ones with whom we have no direct dialogue are the terrorists'', he stressed.

    However, the diplomat hopes that, if the time will come for political talks, the different members of the opposition will be able to start having a closer stance so as to avoid a fragmentation that makes the situation still difficult and contradictory''.(ANSAmed).

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