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First Minister meets Syrian women ahead of programme.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today discussed the role of Syrian women in the Syrian peace process during a special United Nations initiative in Scotland.
The programme, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with the UN, is designed to empower Syrian women with peacemaking and conflict resolution skills.
Ten members of the Office of the Special Envoy's Syrian Women's Advisory Board travelled to Edinburgh on Friday (6th May) for four days of talks, including a two-day conference at the Scottish Parliament.
The work relates to UN resolution 1325, which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
Earlier this morning (Saturday, 7th May) First Minister Nicola Sturgeon received a private briefing on the Syrian peace process from Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy to Syria.
She then met the women involved in the Women's Advisory Board to hear about their views on the Syrian peace process.
The First Minister said:
"I am proud that Scotland is hosting this event and we are delighted to welcome the women's advisory board.
"Gender equality and a commitment to peace are our fundamentally shared values and it is crucial that women should be formally represented at the negotiating table. It's not acceptable for peace agreements to be made by men on behalf of women –women need to have a say in shaping them.
"That principle holds true for any peace process around the world and it's certainly true in Syria. That is why the Syrian Women's Advisory Board is so crucial in ensuring that the voices of women from across Syria's communities are heard and reflected in the peace process.
"The programme they'll be participating in throughout this weekend of talks will, I hope, have a lasting and positive impact on the individuals who are taking part and on the future of Syria. By doing so, it can play some part in delivering a fair and lasting peace settlement for Syria – one which is shaped by women as well as men."
Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy to Syria, added:
"I would like to thank Scottish officials, and in particular First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, for welcoming us here and providing this space for us to exchange ideas on how we can move forward in our support for Syrian women as peace assets.
"I have formed a Women's Advisory Board to advise on gender perspectives on the Talks and to channel relevant civil society expertise and proposals into the peace process.
"I look forward to working with the Advisory Board as the next round of talks gets underway and will continue to advocate for more seats for women in the official negotiating delegations."
Mark Muller Stuart, Founder of Beyond Borders Scotland who delivered the programme on behalf of the Scottish Government, and Senior Adviser to the UN Special Envoy, said:
"One cannot underestimate the important of the establishment of the Women Advisory Board by the UN Special Envoy for the UN facilitated Intra-Syrian talks currently being held in Syria. Both UN Resolutions 1325 and 2254 emphasise the important role of women in the resolution of conflicts and the importance of their full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.
"1325 rightly urges all actors to help increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts. The Special Envoy is therefore particularly grateful for the Scottish Government's support in this regard. As he has made clear many time sustainable peace is simply not possible without the active involvement of Syrian women, whether it be in formal peace processes in Geneva or on the ground in local communities in Syria."
Jessica Forsythe, Deputy Director of Beyond Borders Scotland said, "Beyond Borders is pleased to support this important initiative, bringing the Syrian Women's Advisory Board to Scotland. Scotland has an impressive record of female leaders in politics as well as a unique non-violent constitutional journey."
Photos are available at:https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland/
The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with the UN Special Envoy's Office with the assistance of the Department of Political Affairs and UN Women.
Further information on the Scottish Government's work with the United Nations to take forward an initiative to support the role of Syrian women in the Syrian peace process can be found here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Scotland-to-work-with-UN-on-Syria-peace-initiative-1fc7.aspx
The women will attend a number of sessions during their visit to Scotland. The full programme is confidential at the request of the UN.
Mark Muller Stuart is the Founder of Beyond Borders Scotland, which helped deliver the programme on behalf of the Scottish Government. He is also a Senior UN Mediation Advisor attached to Staffan De Mistura from the Standby Team of the Department of Political Affairs.