Scotland is to help train Syrian women who are involved in the peace process, the First Minister has announced.
Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would work with the United Nations (UN) to offer female peace-makers training in negotiation and communication skills to support their participation in peace talks.
The initiative emerged from discussions between Ms Sturgeon and Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, who has been involved in international negotiations in Vienna aimed at resolving the conflict.
The First Minister said the work related to UN resolution 1325, which reaffirms the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
She 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.”
Ms Sturgeon said the exact details of the initiative were still to be finalised.
She added: “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.”
Mr de Mistura 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.”