Delivered by: Ameirah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative
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I thank Mr. Geir Pedersen and Ms. Reena Ghelani for their thorough briefings today, and we appreciate their work on this file.
It is unfortunate that, despite the ongoing developments to the humanitarian and security situation in Syria, the Syrian file does not receive the attention it needs from the international community. The diplomatic efforts to reach a solution that will end this crisis have also diminished. Therefore, we would like to reiterate: the Syrian file is no less important than the other files on our agenda. The Syrian people live in conditions that are among the worst in the world. Just as other conflict-affected countries deserve our attention, so too does this situation.
We will not be able to break the current deadlock in the political process if international efforts are not focused on achieving this goal. The UAE appreciates the continued attempts of the Special Envoy in his engagement with the Syrian parties to find a solution to the crisis, and it stresses the importance of including women in these efforts. The UAE also underscores the importance of overcoming the deadlock that has paralyzed the work of the Constitutional Committee over the past several months. The Constitutional Committee is the only platform in which Syrians can constructively engage in a Syrian-led and owned national dialogue to move the political process forward without foreign interference. Overcoming the deadlock in the Constitutional Committee does not only apply to logistical matters. It should also include a clear timeline and an agreed plan for the next steps on the constitutional track. The UAE will not stop reiterating its rejection of foreign intervention in Syria’s affairs, nor will it cease in its calls to end these interventions to protect Syria’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.
As for the security situation, improvements to the situation will not occur without addressing disorder and insecurity that is exploited by Da’esh and other groups to launch attacks in Syrian territories. Mr. Pedersen’s comments regarding Da’esh’s weapons cache is worrying and the fact that this Group has extorted and looted local communities in the eastern Deir ez-Zor Governorate to fund their terrorist activities is also alarming. We have also seen concerning reports that other groups have gained control over a number of Syrian areas in northern Aleppo over the past few weeks. We demand the withdrawal of these groups and a cessation of all hostilities in Northern Syria to ensure civilian lives are protected. These actions illustrate the continuous threats and the long-term repercussions posed by these groups – not only to the security and stability of Syria – but to the entire region. All these developments must be addressed, not ignored. We reiterate here that the safety and stability of Syria is an integral part of the safety and stability of the region.
Regarding the worsening humanitarian conditions and the economic stagnation in Syria, these conditions will not improve unless sustainable solutions are found to alleviate temporary and limited measures. This requires focusing international efforts on early recovery and reconstruction. The humanitarian situation is becoming increasingly dangerous due to the cholera outbreak across all Syrian governorates. The camps that are crowded with displaced people, particularly those who suffer from a lack of clean drinking water, have also heightened concerns. In this regard, we commend the United Nations for coordinating an emergency response to this epidemic. We also stress here the importance of ensuring the appropriate security conditions to allow for the passage of humanitarian convoys to their intended destinations and to ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to all those in need throughout Syria. In this regard, we welcome the recent passage of the seventh and eighth convoy to northwestern Syria and the distribution of food by the World Food Programme.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I would like to note that each day that passes without reaching a peaceful solution means another day of suffering of the Syrian people. We must therefore restore international momentum to end the current impasse on the political track.
Thank you, Mr. President.