Thursday, October 1, 2015

55 House Dems Call for Peace Talks to Resolve Syrian Conflict

On Tuesday, Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) led 54 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the president calling for international negotiations to bring an end to the conflict in Syria. The letter also underscores the connection between resolving the conflict in Syria and addressing the growing refugee crisis.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. President:
We write with urgency to request that you use the full authority of your office to convene international negotiations designed to stop the civil war in Syria, stabilize the country, effect the return to Syria of all refugees, provide for political change towards a popularly supported, accountable Syrian leadership, and develop a cohesive, international strategy for the defeat of ISIL.
The Syrian civil war has now dragged on for four long and bloody years, resulting in the deaths of more than 300,000 people, creating more than 4 million refugees, and displacing more than 6.5 million people within the country. The refugee crisis has been an immense and potentially destabilizing challenge to fragile regimes in the Middle East and is now affecting Europe and the United States.
Sadly, it appears that none of the efforts the U.S. and Europe have made so far in Syria have produced the desired results: a transition away from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the return of peace and stability. In fact, with the introduction of Russian military equipment and personnel, and with increasing Western military efforts directed at both ISIL and Assad-regime forces, there is every possibility that violence will escalate. This would continue the devastation of the Syrian populace, worsen the refugee crisis, and risk an increasing probability of expanded military conflict in the region. For these reasons, it is time to devote ourselves to a negotiated peace, and work with allies, including surrounding Arab states that have a vested interest in the security and stability of the region, moving forward with both a peace plan and a coordinated assault against ISIL.
There is no guarantee that such negotiations would succeed; Russia and Iran, necessary parties to the process, are devoting substantial resources to preserving the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. Furthermore, at any given time there will be lengthy debate regarding the state of the dynamic situation on the ground among the many factions operating in Syria and their various international supporters. But, all parties to our proposed negotiations have certain long-term, common interests in the neutralization of ISIL and other violent extremists in the region, and in stopping the carnage and increasingly unmanageable refugee crisis.
We urge you to take quick action on this matter. The situation worsens day to day and shows no sign of improving. Convening international negotiations to end the Syria conflict would be in the best interests of US and global security, and is also, more importantly, a moral imperative.
Here are the 54 other signers:

Don Beyer (VA-08)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
John Carney (DE-AL)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Judy Chu (CA-27)
Katherine Clark (MA-05)
Yvette Clarke (NY-09)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
John Conyers (MI-13)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Al Green (TX-09)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
Mike Honda (CA-17)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Eddie Johnson (TX-30)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
John Larson (CT-01)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Stephen Lynch (MA-08)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Jim McGovern (MA-02)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-09)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Mark Pocan (WI-02)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Maxine Waters (CA-43)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Pete Welch (VT-AL)

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