Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
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I thank Mr. Geir Pedersen and Ms. Lisa Doughten for their briefings today.
As this is our last meeting on the Syrian political and humanitarian file during the UAE term at the Security Council, allow me to share a few of our thoughts on this file.
Since 2014, the main focus of this Council has been to meet the needs of the Syrian people by establishing the cross-border mechanism to Syria and renewing it on regular basis. While this has contributed to providing relief aid to millions of Syrians, we have noticed that throughout our two year-term on the Security Council the political track has not received similar attention by this Council. This is despite the fact that reaching a peaceful solution is necessary to address the humanitarian crisis in a sustainable manner.
While aid continues to flow through the three crossings – Bab al-Hawa, Bab al-Salama and Al-Rai – with the approval of the Syrian government and the efforts of the United Nations and humanitarian workers on the ground, the Security Council should simultaneously intensify its work on the political track and support the efforts of the Special Envoy for Syria to reach a peaceful solution. This is the only way to end the suffering of the Syrian people and to restore security and stability in Syria and the broader region.
Over the past several years, the political track has not seen any concrete progress towards ending the Syrian crisis. Meanwhile, the humanitarian and economic conditions have continued to deteriorate to unprecedented levels.
Today, there are more than 15 million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid.
The current situation requires the Security Council to allocate the same level of attention to the Syrian crisis as it does to other crises on its agenda.
There is no doubt that ending the Syrian crisis will contribute to resolving one of its most serious consequences – the displacement crisis. Today there are about seven million displaced Syrians. This crisis requires providing appropriate living conditions for the voluntary, dignified and safe return of refugees and displaced persons, including through the implementation of early recovery projects.
While we emphasize the important work of the Constitutional Committee in enhancing dialogue between the Syrian parties to end the crisis through a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned process without any foreign interference, we believe that merely holding meetings is not sufficient. The political path extends beyond that, and it requires all diplomatic efforts be focused on resolving the Syrian crisis rather than only managing it.
These efforts are also necessary to address security conditions in Syria, which will worsen if there is no political solution on the horizon. We are closely monitoring with concern the violent escalations in northwestern Syria, along the Jordanian-Syrian border, and across other regions in Syria. These developments reaffirm the need to continue working toward de-escalation and a ceasefire throughout all Syrian regions.
This issue has become particularly urgent in light of the escalating tensions in our region. We cannot afford any further escalations in the situation in Syria.
In conclusion, Mr. President, we look forward to the day when Syria turns the page on conflict and regains its security and stability. Syria is a land of ancient civilization, and its people deserve to lead better lives with dignity in their homeland, as has long been the case. The UAE will continue to support regional and international efforts aimed at realizing these objectives.
Thank you, Mr. President.