We, the undersigned, who are part of an international civil society increasingly worried about the awful bloodshed of the Syrian people, are supporting a political initiative based on the results of a fact-finding mission which some of our colleagues undertook to Beirut and Damascus in September 2012. This initiative consists in calling for a delegation of high-ranking personalities and international public figures to go to Syria in order to discuss the current situation with the main political actors and to pave the way for a negotiated political solution of the armed conflict in Syria which seriously threatens world peace and the existence of Syria as an independent and sovereign nation.
In this perspective we fully support the following declaration:
All eyes are presently on the unfolding war in Syria that is drowning its people in blood. We are highly concerned not only because the conflict has been acquiring a dangerous geo-political dimension. The legitimate and at the beginning also peaceful movement of the Syrian people – along with their Arab brothers – for democratic rights is also in danger of being converted into a sectarian civil war with massive regional and international involvement.
We are conscious that no side can win such a war of attrition in the near future whilst the Syrian and Arab people’s resistance against Western and Israeli predominance as well as the regional dictatorships is being threatened and could eventually even be destroyed.
In order to save these achievements and to continue the struggle for democracy, social justice and self-determination of the people, a political solution of the conflict by means of a negotiated settlement is indispensable. Only in this way can religious sectarianism be curbed, foreign intervention averted and the democratic mass movement prevail.
We therefore take action in support of a political solution to end the bloodshed with the following criteria:
1) We fully support the beginning of a political process which should start by negotiations and a ceasefire. This should go hand in hand with a process of de-escalation and de-militarisation that allows the Syrian people to receive the help they urgently need and express their will peacefully and eventually at the ballot boxes.
2) Since any solution must be based on the sovereign will of the Syrian people we reject categorically any kind of military intervention, wherever it may come from.
3) To respect the sovereign right to self-determination means respecting the democratic and social rights of the vast majority of the people. Therefore no major political force should be excluded a priori. A sustainable, peaceful settlement must be based on a constitutional process which allows free elections organised by a transitional government as a result of negotiations.
4) Since the conflict has seen a growing instrumentalisation of sectarian affiliations, which hampers the political unification of the people based on democracy, we support all initiatives and tendencies among the existing political and military forces which are promoting inter-confessional tolerance on the base of the same rights for all citizens.
By signing this declaration we give our full support to the international delegation heading for Syria in the beginning of 2013 and hoping that this initiative will make a significant contribution to peace in the area.
• Ernesto Cardenal, poet, Sandinist politician and theologian of liberation, Nicaragua
• Gianni Vattimo, philosopher, Italy
• Hans von Sponeck, retired UN diplomat and university professor, Germany
• Mairead Maguire, peace nobel price laureate, Northern Ireland
• Norman Paech, professor for international law at the university of Hamburg, for MP for the “Linke, Germany
• Manolis Glezos, resistance fighter against Nazi occupation, Greece
• Annette Groth, MP for the “Linke”, Stuttgart, Germany
• Margherita Hack, astro-physicist, Italy
• Gilberto López y Rivas, social anthropologist, Mexico
• Samir Amin, Egyptian-born economist, director of the Third World Forum, Dakar, Senegal
• Werner Ruf, retired professor for political sciences researchin on peace and conflict resolution, university of Kassel, Germany
• Paul Larudee, Co-Founder, Free Gaza Movement, Free Palestine Movement, Global March to Jerusalem, USA
• Santiago Alba Rico, Spanish writer, resident in Tunis, Tunisia
• Carlos Varea González, university professor and leading member of the “Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq” (CEOSI), Spain
• Andrej Hunko, MP for the "Linke", member of PACE, Aachen, Germany
• Walden Bello, MP Akbayan, professor for sociology, Philippines
• Inge Höger, MP for the “Linke”, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
• Jean Ziegler, author, Switzerland
• Jesus Iglesias Fernández, senator, Spain
• Francisco Vigueras Roldán, journalist, Spain
• Manuel Garcia Fonseca, former MP and speaker of CSCA (Spanish Committee for the Arab Cause), Spain
• Ignasi Riera Gassiot, writer and ex MP in the Catalonian Parliament, Spain
• Eren Keskin, human rights activist and layer, Istanbul, Turkey
• Richard Falk, professor emeritus for International law and UN special rapporteur, USA
• Ignacio Ramonet, director Le Monde Diplomatique, Spanish edition, France
• Niema Movassat, MP for the “Linke”, Oberhausen, Germany
• Leo Gabriel, social anthropologist, journalist and member of the Executive Committee of the World Social Forum, Austria / Latin America
• Vangelis Pissias, Professor in International Economic Affairs, leading organiser of the Gaza Freedom flotilla, Greece