Delivered by His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
I thank Mr. Geir Pedersen and Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham for their briefings today.
In light of the developments that we have witnessed over the past two weeks and the repercussions on the Syrian people, I would like to begin my statement today by addressing the humanitarian situation.
The rapid and unexpected end of the cross-border aid delivery mechanism to Syria was shocking for both the international community and the Syrian people. Although the end of this mechanism was inevitable in the future – given that it was always an exceptional and temporary solution – we had hoped that its conclusion would be carried out in coordination with the United Nations, so that humanitarian workers on the ground would have the appropriate and sufficient time to plan for humanitarian operations in a gradual manner.
As such, the international community should take practical steps to ensure the delivery of assistance to the Syrian people through all available modalities.
In this context, the UAE welcomes again the Syrian government’s decision to grant the United Nations permission to deliver humanitarian aid through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing for a period of six months. We encourage both parties to continue their ongoing discussions in a constructive manner to find common ground and reach an understanding on several related issues. The interests of the Syrian people must remain at the center of all humanitarian efforts.
In the meantime, we find it reassuring that aid is flowing through Bab Al-Salama and Bab Al-Rai crossings.
Additionally, and although the mechanism has not been renewed, we affirm that the Council must continue to discuss the humanitarian track through these joint political and humanitarian meetings.
Doing so remains essential, especially within the framework of the Council’s work and its responsibility to maintain international peace and security. There are more than 15 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, half of whom are women and girls. We also underscore the importance of the Secretary-General’s reports which ensure that the Council remains informed on relevant developments.
Considering the continued deterioration of the humanitarian and security conditions in Al-Hol camp, we stress the need to find a sustainable and urgent solution to the situation. We also welcome Iraq’s recent repatriation of approximately 200 of its citizens from Al-Hol camp.
In addition, we stress the need to support demining activities in Syria as part of early recovery projects – both to protect civilians from danger and to create the appropriate conditions to ensure the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Moving to the political situation, we hope that the recent visits from Arab countries to Syria, especially from neighboring countries, will contribute to enhance coordination and cooperation in addressing several issues of common interest to the countries of the region. This includes the return of refugees and combating terrorism and drugs.
We look forward to continuing Arab diplomatic efforts within the framework of the outcomes of the Jeddah Summit, and in close coordination with the United Nations Envoy for Syria, to pave the way towards the settlement of the Syrian crisis, which has not witnessed any tangible outcomes for far too many years.
We believe that the empowerment of women in Syria as well as strengthening their participation across the peace continuum, especially in mediation and dialogue, are critical steps to ensure that these efforts will be successful and sustainable.
While we stress the need to preserve the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria, we also stress the need for de-escalation across all regions in Syria. This will contribute to the security and stability of the country and enhance regional security.
As for the security situation, we note that it remains a source of concern as Da’esh continues to carry out attacks in Syria. The attacks have resulted in civilian deaths and injuries and have obstructed the efforts of humanitarian workers and threatened their lives.
In conclusion, we emphasize the need to move from managing the Syrian crisis to resolving it. Adopting a fragmented approach has proven to be unsuccessful and will not achieve the necessary progress to end this crisis.
Thank you, Madam President.