Mrs. Amierah Alhefeiti. Deputy Permanent Representative
I thank Mr. Geir Pedersen and Ms. Ghada Mudawi for their valuable briefings. I also thank Ms. Morgane Aveline for her briefing.
Over the past several weeks, we have witnessed important steps taken by Arab countries to end the suffering of the Syrian people as a result of the protracted crisis. This includes the return of the Syrian Arab Republic to its seat in the League of Arab States, as agreed upon at the Jeddah and Amman meetings. As a result, Syria participated in the recent Arab Summit held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was marked by an atmosphere of optimism as well as a focus on strengthening cooperation and joint Arab efforts to address the region’s crises, including the Syrian crisis.
These efforts are also consistent with shared Arab interests and the deep ties between the Syrian people and all Arab peoples.
We affirm here that a political solution is the only way to end the Syrian crisis and that Syria’s return to the Arab League is only the starting point. This represents an important step in the Arab-led track towards achieving peace, in close coordination with the Special Envoy and the United Nations.
For the first time in the history of this devastating war that has profoundly impacted Syria, developments on the political track are emerging on the horizon, which offer hope for progress on this track. These developments have stemmed from the initiative of Arab States, and it is essential that all actors work to support and strengthen these efforts with a realistic approach – one that is primarily aimed at ending the war, establishing peace, and addressing its humanitarian, security and political consequences on Syria, the region, and the world.
We also hope that these various regional and international efforts will contribute to security and stability in Syria, thereby preserving Syria’s independence, unity, and territorial integrity.
In the context of our aspirations for a better future for Syria, we stress the need to continue making progress in the fight against Da’esh, especially considering the decrease in attacks over the past months. This group will not stop attempting to seize territory and spread violence as well as extremist ideologies – not only in Syria but across the entire region.
Madam President, regarding the humanitarian situation, we must acknowledge that this acute crisis requires finding sustainable solutions aimed at solving it. Despite international efforts, the level of needs on the ground far exceeds the volume of aid. According to OCHA, more than 90 percent of the population live below the poverty line today. Therefore, we reaffirm the need to focus on early recovery projects and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of public facilities, while examining ways to revive the economy.
We welcome here the measures taken by the Syrian government to alleviate the acute humanitarian situation, which include extending the delivery of aid through the Al-Rai and Bab Al-Salam crossings for an additional three months in response to the increased needs as a result of the recent earthquake.
As for crossline aid, we reiterate our deep concern that since the onset of this disaster aid convoys to Northwest Syria have been unable to pass due to the obstruction by terrorist groups. We continue to stress the need to ensure that aid reaches all regions in Syria, without hindrance, in accordance with the international humanitarian law and Security Council Resolution 2672.
Similarly, we look forward to the extension of the cross-border mechanism into Syria, which remains an essential lifeline for millions of Syrians.
In conclusion, we affirm the aspirations of Syrian refugees to live in dignity and safety, especially considering the difficult conditions they have endured. This requires examining the means available to facilitate their voluntary return to their homeland.
Thank you, Madam President.