Foreign Minister supports UN's work towards a political solution to the Syrian crisis

'It is crucial to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria. Norway is providing both political and economic support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, was appointed today to head one of the four thematic working groups established by the Special Envoy to prepare the ground for a political process in Syria. Mr Egeland is to lead the working group on safety and protection for all, which will focus on humanitarian issues and protection of civilians.

'The task Jan Egeland has taken on is an important one. There is no time to lose. I expect the participants in the working groups to work together in the best interests of the Syrian people, and to agree on concrete solutions to the serious humanitarian problems on the ground as soon as possible. This is urgently needed by the Syrian population who have suffered so much,' said Mr Brende.

Since the outset, Norway has been actively supporting the UN's humanitarian efforts and its work to bring about a political solution in Syria. Following the endorsement of the UN Security Council, Staffan de Mistura has established four thematic working groups, which will examine the following issues: 1) safety and protection for all, 2) political and legal issues, 3) military, security and counterterrorism issues, and 4) continuity of public services and reconstruction. Their work is intended to pave the way for a political process that can put an end to the conflict.