The Syrian National Coalition, a major opposition group, has critical roles and responsibilities in negotiating peace and fostering democracy, and helping to preserve the unity of their strife-torn country. This message was conveyed to the Syrian opposition group at the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday.
"The Coalition has a key and central role to play in making Geneva II a success," Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, U.N. Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the group in a message to the Ministerial Meeting.
"It also has a fundamental duty to ensure that Syria does not break apart, and that its people are served by a state that remains stable and cohesive but that also reflects its citizens' democratic aspirations," Fernandez-Taranco said.
"The alternative is chaos," he warned.
In his address, Fernandez-Taranco, reaffirmed the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's position in the issue, that the only way out of the devastating crisis was through dialogue and political compromise.
The Geneva Conference on Syria, which the U.N. has been working to bring about for months, is meant to launch such a dialogue, he said.
Fernandez-Taranco, said the five permanent members of the Security Council had agreed to work together and separately to make sure that the Syrian participants come to the Conference to negotiate in good faith.
The Secretary-General and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi will continue this dialogue to arrive at a date for the Geneva Conference.
He said no one was naïve to the challenges of peacefully ending the conflict, given that some in Syria did not share the vision of a unified and democratic country that protected the diversity of its people and rejected extremism.
In the face of such challenges, leaders must make tough choices, he asserted.
"The Syrian people have suffered enough. It is time to put aside our differences and take diplomatic action," he told the meeting.
The Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People was held on the sidelines of the high-level debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly currently underway at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.
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