Delivered By: His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires a.i.,
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At the outset, I would like to thank both Mr. Geir Pedersen and Mr. Martin Griffiths for their briefings today. As we approach the end of several Member States’ terms on the Council, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to our colleagues in Norway and Ireland – the penholders of the Syrian humanitarian file – for their professionalism, balanced approach, and tireless efforts to facilitate resolutions on the cross-border mechanism to Syria over the past year. We hope that the incoming penholders of the Syrian humanitarian file will follow the same approach.
As we near the expiration of the cross-border mechanism, I would like to begin my statement by focusing solely on the humanitarian situation in Syria. This year, the Syrian crisis has witnessed worsening humanitarian conditions and a deepening of divisions over this file – both in and outside of this Council. We must ensure that the spirit of unity and collaboration will prevail among Council members in the coming year, which will lessen the suffering of the Syrian people.
We also must stress the importance of not politicizing the Syrian humanitarian file. We all have a moral and human responsibility to ensure the delivery of assistance to all those in need, without any political considerations.
Last July, this Council adopted Resolution 2642 amid a period of conflicting positions, widening divisions, and geopolitical tensions. Resolution 2642 extended the cross-border mechanism to Syria and included, for the first time, the importance of providing electricity to Syrians given that it is a basic and indispensable humanitarian need. The resolution also allowed for the convening of an informal interactive dialogue, which helped provide a clearer picture to the Member States about the difficulties surrounding the efforts of implementation. Given these important elements, which strengthened the objectives of the resolution, the UAE fully supports the extension of the cross-border mechanism for an additional six months. Currently, this is the best solution to move forward.
The UAE believes that the cross-border mechanism should be treated as a resolution that benefits all Syrians in all governorates of Syria – not only those residing in northwestern Syria. The resolution provides sustainable solutions, such as early recovery projects that are essential to improve the humanitarian situation in the long term, as humanitarian needs continue to rise to dangerous levels. According to the report of the Secretary-General, there are more than 15 million people out of 22 million Syrians who will be in need of humanitarian assistance next year. We are talking about real people and the families of women and children – not only numbers. Therefore, all parties on the ground must also allow for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid and continue to commit to non-interfere in humanitarian operations to ensure it reaches those in need. We also stress the importance of restoring calm and de-escalation across all regions, especially in northern Syria.
The delivery of crossline assistance requires security guarantees from all parties on the ground and the removal of all obstacles that impede humanitarian operations, which will enable OCHA to increase cross-line humanitarian operations – both in terms of frequency and scale. In conclusion, we stress here that the cross-border mechanism was established as an exceptional and temporary measure, which means that we should prioritize the political track due to its impact on the humanitarian track through our support of the Special Envoy’s efforts. Without a political solution to this crisis, the humanitarian situation in Syria will not be addressed.
Thank you, Madam President