Delivered by H.E. Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
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I thank Mr. Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, for his thorough briefing and we agree that reaching consensus on the renewal of the cross-border mechanism would send a positive signal for the Syrian people.
We would also take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Ms. Najat Rochdi as Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, and we also thank Ms. Khawla Matar for her tireless efforts and dedication to peace and security.
In the context of today’s session and despite what we have heard today, we affirm that our actions are aimed at relieving the suffering of the Syrian people.
A constitution fundamentally defines the relationship between the nation and its people and is the main reference for laws and legislation. It also maintains the unity of the state, guarantees the rights of its citizens, and guides their language, culture, and aspirations. In the context of Syria, resolution 2254 identified the constitutional process as one of the main pillars for reaching a political solution to the crisis. The Constitutional Committee is the only platform for a constructive, Syrian-led, and Syrian-owned dialogue, without foreign interference, to advance the political process.
Despite significant disagreements about the text, the eight session of Constitutional Committee talks witnessed some positive steps towards finding common ground. Accordingly, we stress the importance of focusing on points of common ground to build confidence between all parties and overcome points of disagreement. In this context, the UAE welcomes the agreement to hold the ninth session on July 25th.
In the context of confidence-building efforts between the parties, we welcome the Syrian President’s recent issuance of a general amnesty for non-lethal terrorist crimes, which led to the release of hundreds of detainees. We encourage all parties to continue to take such steps during the coming period. We also agree with the Special Envoy’s assessment that this amnesty has the potential to be a positive step. We believe such measures are necessary to support sustainable peace and to solve the Syrian crisis.
In regard to the significant escalation of hostilities in northern Syria, especially in the areas of Tal Rifaat, Manbij, Ain Issa, and Tal Tamr, the UAE reaffirms its rejection of any foreign interference, including acts of aggression in northern Syria, in order to preserve Syria’s unity, independence, and territorial integrity. The UAE also rejects any efforts to artificially alter the demography of Syria, as this would threaten the security and stability of Syria and the region as a whole, and it would undermine the future of the political process.
In order to reach a comprehensive political solution, we need to overcome security obstacles by addressing the causes of insecurity. Da’esh is of particular concern, and it continues to launch attacks in Deir Ezzor, Hasaka, eastern Homs, and Hama, and its recent attacks in Raqqa resulting in multiple deaths. In this regard, the UAE is deeply concerned about Da’esh’s attempts to carry out attacks in close proximity to Damascus, which would have grave repercussions for civilians and the security and stability of Syria.
In conclusion, we look forward to the Syrian people overcoming the challenges of the current phase of the conflict, achieving a long-awaited peace, and creating a more stable and hopeful reality for the younger Syrian generation.
Thank you, Mr. President.