Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Secretary General Martin Chungong has urged Syria’s leaders to put in place an independent and politically representative parliament as a fundamental step in ending conflict and eventually stemming terrorism in the country.
During discussions with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Speaker of the Syrian Parliament Mohammad Jihad al-Laham in Damascus this week, the IPU Secretary General highlighted the 2016 elections as a key opportunity to ensure a politically diverse parliament is returned. Parliament should be independent of government so as to be able to oversee it effectively.
IPU in turn was requested to provide long-term support to Syria to help its parliament become a democratic institution, fully able to exercise its mandate.
Parliament’s role at the national and international levels to bring about national reconciliation, end violence and protect the security and rights of the Syrian people was reiterated during the talks in Damascus.
Syria has dominated IPU concerns for several years. Since 2012, several political resolutions have been adopted by IPU Members on the conflict and its humanitarian fall-out, the need to protect civilians and to stem the growth of terrorism.
Secretary General Chungong’s mission to Syria was part of a two-country visit aimed at kick-starting an on-the-ground global parliamentary effort to help find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. It also followed several Syrian requests for greater IPU involvement in ending terrorism in the region.
President Assad and Speaker al-Laham underlined the need for a concerted and united international effort to stop terrorism both in their country and the region as a whole.
Prior to the IPU Secretary General’s arrival in Damascus, he held talks with the Lebanese Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Speaker of Parliament in Beirut on the impact of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.
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