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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has accepted an invitation from United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to take forward an initiative to support the role of Syrian women in the Syrian peace process.
Further to discussions with Mr de Mistura, who is actively involved in the Vienna process, the Scottish Government will work with the UN to help with capacity building and training for women's groups involved in the Syrian peace process – and will seek to work in cooperation with other political parties in the Scottish Parliament in doing so.
The work relates to UN resolution 1325, which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction.
Commenting Staffan de Mistura, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria, said:
"Women's leadership and participation in conflict resolution are critical for sustainable solutions. The engagement of women in shaping the future of Syria is more important now than ever before.
"I am therefore glad that the Scottish Government has agreed to work with the United Nations on this initiative."
Commenting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
"In recent months the world has been both touched by the plight of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and horrified by the terrorist atrocities of Daesh.
"Scotland is playing its role welcoming refugees into our communities and we have also provided funding to help support aid agencies responding to the crisis in Syria and surrounding countries. However we are also open to exploring other avenues to assist where we can.
"I recently met with the United Nations Special Envoy to Syria, respected diplomat Staffan de Mistura, who proposed that Scotland could play a useful role in the peace process through support to female peace-makers. In particular he has asked for our support in training Syrian peace-makers in negotiation and communication skills to best prepare them to maximise their role in the talks.
"UN Resolution 1325 sets out the importance of women's involvement to conflict resolution and peace negotiations, and Scotland has set out its determination to put women at the heart of government and politics. Our Parliament has three female party leaders and a female Presiding Officer and in Government we are taking forward a range of action such as my appointment of one of the first gender balanced cabinets in the world.
"Scotland's work on gender issues has clearly been noticed by the United Nations and we are happy to explore how we can best help. The exact details are still to be finalised but this is work which I hope can involve politicians across the political spectrum in the Scottish Parliament but most importantly can also play a small but important part in helping the people of Syria find a lasting peace."