Delivered by H.E. Shahad Matar
Check against delivery.
At the outset, I would to thank today’s briefers. We also agree with Ms. Najjah’s point that making progress in the detainee file will contribute to progress in the overall peace process.
The issue of detainees and missing persons in Syria is one of the most complex and difficult files in the Syrian crisis. The special envoy for Syria has consistently called for all parties to engage in unilateral releases, to move beyond “one for one” exchanges, and to speed up the release of women and children. We believe that the recent decision made by the Syrian government represents a critical step in this direction, and we encourage all parties to take similar steps in the upcoming period.
We also agree with the envoy’s assessment that the Syrian President’s issuance of a general amnesty to release detainees accused of non-fatal, terrorist crimes is a positive gesture that led to the release of many detainees. This step can be considered a confidence-building measure, which we believe is necessary to support a sustainable peace to the Syrian crisis.
Moreover, we would like to highlight what UNICEF has noted that there are over 800 detained children in northeast Syria, most of whom are in the detention facility in al-Hasakah. Some of these detainees are as young as 12 years old and have not lived a day without war. Therefore, the protection of these children as well as all Syrian children who have suffered from war must be a priority.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms that a political solution remains the only way to end the Syrian crisis. Making real progress within the political file requires all parties to make the necessary concessions in good faith while seeking to build confidence, in accordance with the Security Council resolution 2254. We hope to see security and stability in Syria so that the aspirations of the Syrian people can soon be achieved.