Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

Mr. President,

First, I would like to thank both Mr. Geir Pedersen and Ms. Edem Wosornu for their valuable briefings. We also thank Ms. Su’ad Jarbawi for her intervention which shed the light on the difficult conditions of the Syrian people.

In the context of today’s meeting, I would like to begin with the political track in Syria. The UAE stresses the importance of continued dialogue and building confidence between the Syrian parties, ensuring a Syrian-owned and Syrian-led political solution as the only way to end the crisis.

The UAE also stresses the importance of continuing the Arab diplomatic momentum that we witnessed in the past months to support reaching a peaceful solution in coordination with the United Nations, especially in light of the absence of any serious movements on this track for a long time.

We believe that the role played by the Arab Contact Group on Syria is important and must be supported by the international community, for all these Arab endeavors are aimed at supporting and strengthening the United Nations track and the Special Envoy’s efforts.

In this context, we welcome Mr. Pedersen’s remarks about convening a meeting of the Constitutional Committee at the end of this year, where we hope the Committee would be able to resume its work and overcome the prolonged stalemate.

On the security front, we express our concern about the escalation of tensions in Syria this month as well as the flare-up of the frontlines, which requires continued call for de-escalation in all Syrian regions and the cessation of acts of violence, especially with the fragility of the situation and the continued lurking by the terrorist organization Da’esh in any security vacuum to reestablish its control over the liberated areas.

We reiterate our firm position on the need to preserve Syria’s independence, unity, and territorial integrity, and establishing lasting security and stability.

As for the humanitarian situation, the UAE welcomes the resumption of the delivery of humanitarian aid through Bab al-Hawa crossing this month. These important and positive developments exemplify the results that can be achieved through constructive dialogue and mutual understanding. In this context, we appreciate the efforts of the Syrian government and OCHA and their close cooperation over the past months to reach an understanding at a time when relief aid is most needed. We look forward to the continuation of this cooperation and coordination in a way that serves the interests and needs of the Syrian people, with whom we continue to stand in solidarity with.

We stress the importance of continued delivery of aid through the other two border crossings, with the latest being the entry of six trucks through Bab al-Salama crossing.  This contributes to the entry of the largest possible amount of aid through all available means.

We continue to stress the need to ensure delivery of aid through crosslines on a regular and unhindered basis, and to increase their number to a level commensurate with the enormous size of needs on the ground, especially given the Syrian government’s agreement to open the Sarmada and Saraqib crossings until February 2024.

The international community must examine all ways through which to halt the economic collapse in Syria and reduce its tragic repercussions on the humanitarian and social conditions of the Syrian people, especially with the decline of the Syrian currency to unprecedented levels. We stress that rebuilding and helping Syria to recover and prosper will also contribute to enhancing security and stability in the entire region, not just in Syria.

Therefore, we must focus on early recovery projects, which remain the best way to bring about tangible change on the ground, especially in terms of infrastructure rehabilitation. This will contribute to providing Syrians with the necessities for a decent living and creating the conditions conducive to the voluntary and safe return of refugees. We stress once again the need to support demining activities in Syria as part of these projects, to protect civilians from their dangers.

In conclusion, we stress that the current stage is a critical one for the Syrian people. We must put their interests above any considerations, and pave the way towards ending their severe suffering, and enabling them to live in security, peace, and dignity. Leaving the Syrian file hostage to geopolitical disputes will not be in the interest of any party. Rather, this portends a further deterioration in the humanitarian, security, and economic conditions, the repercussions of which will affect the entire region. We, as a body responsible for maintaining international peace and security, must avoid such an outcome.

Before I finish my statement, and since this is the last session the Permanent Representative of Syria, Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh, participates in, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate him on his new position, and wish him the best of success in his next assignment.

Thank you, Mr. President.