Delivered by: Shahad Matar, Spokesperson

Mr. President,

Our meeting today follows the inability of the Security Council to adopt a resolution to extend the cross-border aid delivery mechanism to Syria.

As you all know, the weeks leading up to the voting session were marked by several rounds of consultations facilitated by the penholders, Brazil and Switzerland.

As an elected member of the Security Council, the UAE intensively and constructively engaged in these consultations at various levels, conscious that the delivery of aid to millions of Syrians was at stake.

During the negotiations, the UAE stressed its firm position to extend the mechanism for 12 months based on the needs of the humanitarian community. The UAE also ensured that provisions on demining were included in the resolution as part of early recovery projects. Mines have devastating humanitarian impacts on the lives of civilians, as well as the efforts of humanitarian workers. Furthermore, mine clearance is crucial in creating the conditions for the voluntary and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homeland. We also sought to strengthen the language related to crossline aid delivery to ensure that aid is provided by all available means.

When it became clear that reaching consensus to extend the mechanism for a period of twelve months was no longer possible, we proposed, alongside the A3, to extend the mechanism for nine months. Unfortunately, this proposal has not been accepted.

We stress here that we spared no effort during this period to bridge viewpoints and find a solution suitable for everyone. Our objective was to alleviate the humanitarian situation facing the Syrian population.

We made these efforts in line with our duty as diplomats and representatives of a body with an international responsibility to find common ground – even in cases where hope remains elusive.   

Indeed, we had an opportunity to extend the mechanism – even for a less optimal period – but the current geopolitical reality has closed the door on any possibility of reaching consensus. The 11th of July was a sad day for multilateralism and for the people who have endured a war lasting more than twelve years, followed by a devastating earthquake earlier this year.

Therefore, and in light of the Council’s inability to extend the mechanism, the UAE welcomes the Syrian government’s decision to grant the United Nations permission to deliver humanitarian aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing for a period of six months. This decision came at a crucial and pressing time, in addition to its previous decision to extend the opening of the two additional crossings.

While we are fully aware that the international community will need time to adapt to this new reality, we underscore the need to move quickly during this transitional period to ensure that aid is delivered to the Syrian people by all available means.

In conclusion, we affirm that prioritizing the interests of the Syrian people requires refraining from divisions within the Council over a purely humanitarian issue. Instead, it is crucial to find common ground and move forward in this new reality, with a spirit of cooperation, understanding and mutual respect.

Thank you, Mr. President.