His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
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I thank both Mr. Geir Pedersen and Mr. Tareq Talahma for their important briefings.
Last week marked the twelfth year of the war in Syria. Syrians are still suffering from the horrendous consequences of this war. The recent earthquake has only exacerbated this humanitarian crisis inflicting further pain on the Syrian people. It is high time to enter a new phase of stability and development in Syria and for countries to turn the page and overcome disagreements. We must also move away from polarization and division in the international system in order to resolve the Syrian crisis. Traditional and hardline positions that distinguish between Syrians in Damascus and Syrians in Idlib must be set aside.
In the context of our discussion today on the humanitarian and political situation in Syria, I would like to make the following five points:
First, we underscore that security and stability in Syria will not be achieved without addressing security challenges and focusing our diplomatic efforts entirely on resolving the crisis rather than settling for managing it. In this regard, we reiterate our support for the efforts of the United Nations and the Special Envoy for Syria to bridge regional and international political viewpoints to resolve the current stalemate in the political track, which has become increasingly pressing.
We also support the Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire across Syria. We reaffirm our rejection of foreign interference in Syrian affairs, and stress the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. In this regard, we strongly condemn the airstrikes that resulted in damage to the Aleppo International Airport. We also call on all States to uphold international law and protect civilian infrastructure, particularly following a humanitarian catastrophe.
Second, it is important to activate the Arab role in resolving Arab crises, including the Syrian crisis. This is an essential prerequisite to restore stability to the region. Syria is an Arab country, and it cannot be separated from the Arab region. Likewise, Arab countries have to embrace Syria and help heal its wounds, as demonstrated by the Arab solidarity shown following the earthquake. In line with our commitment to strengthen Arab and regional security and stability, the UAE recently hosted the Syrian President as an extension of the UAE’s continued solidarity with the Syrian people in these harsh conditions.
Third, with regard to the humanitarian situation, we renew our full support for the people of Syria during this critical time. On its part, the UAE continues to respond to the difficult situation resulting from the earthquake by providing relief and medical aid to Syria and Türkiye, whether through field hospitals or by working closely with the United Nations to alleviate the suffering of those affected. To this end, we provided an aid package of more than 300 million dollars for both countries, including 20 million dollars to support the flash appeal for Syria. Following the earthquake, the UAE has also received several survivors from Syria in critical condition for medical treatment.
Fourth, we stress the importance of urgently reaching all areas affected by the earthquake through all modalities. Regrettably, humanitarian assistance has not been delivered through crossline missions since the earthquake, which reflects a dangerous exploitation of the current catastrophe. Terrorist groups are arbitrarily denying humanitarian access inside Syria in flagrant disregard of humanitarian values and principles. This only further increases the suffering of civilians. Therefore, it is important to guarantee that cross-line aid is unobstructed and reaches those in need, in accordance to Security Council Resolution 2672.
Finally, we stress the need to make all efforts possible to facilitate the safe, secured, and dignified return of Syrian refugees to their homeland and fulfill their humanitarian needs. This must be taken into consideration while implementing early recovery and reconstruction projects. We also express our support for dialogue between Syria and Türkiye to achieve progress on the return of refugees.
Mr. President, the current situation in Syria cannot go unaddressed. The people of Syria deserve to live in a secure and stable environment, and to end the crisis, efforts must be intensified at every level. I would like to conclude by congratulating the Syrian people, and all Arab and Muslim Nations, on the Holy Month of Ramadan. We hope that this month will bring prosperity to all.
Thank you, Mr. President,