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Resolution 2165 and debates (humanitarian aid in Syria)

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Resolution 2165 (2014)

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013) and 2139 (2014), and its Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011, 21 March 2012, 5 April 2012 and 2 October 2013,

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Being appalled at the unacceptable and escalating level of violence and the death of more than 150,000 people, including well over 10,000 children, as a result of the Syrian conflict as reported by the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Children and Armed Conflict,

Expressing grave alarm at the significant and rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria, at the fact that the number of people in need of assistance has grown to over 10 million, including 6.4 million internally displaced persons and over 4.5 million living in hard-to-reach areas, and that over 240,000 are trapped in besieged areas, as reported by the United Nations Secretary-General,

Deploring the fact that the demands in its resolution 2139 (2014) and the provisions of its Presidential Statement of 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15) have not been heeded by the Syrian parties to the conflict as stated in the United Nations Secretary-General’s reports of 22 May 2014 (S/2014/365) and 20 June 2014 (S/2014/427), and recognizing that, while some steps have been undertaken by the Syrian parties, they have not had the necessary impact on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all people in need throughout Syria,

Commending the indispensable and ongoing efforts of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and all humanitarian and medical personnel in Syria and in neighbouring countries to alleviate the impact of the conflict on the Syrian people,

Reiterating its appreciation for the significant and admirable efforts that have been made by the countries of the region, notably Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, to accommodate the more than 2.8 million refugees who have fled Syria as a result of ongoing violence including the approximately 300,000 refugees who have fled since the adoption of resolution 2139 (2014), and urging again all Member States, based on burden-sharing principles, to support these neighbouring host countries to enable them to respond to the growing humanitarian needs, including by providing direct support,

Strongly condemning the continuing widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, as well as the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups,

Stressing the need to end impunity for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, and reaffirming that those who have committed or are otherwise responsible for such violations and abuses in Syria must be brought to justice,

Expressing grave alarm in particular at the continuing indiscriminate attacks in populated areas, including an intensified campaign of aerial bombings and the use of barrel bombs in Aleppo and other areas, artillery, shelling and air strikes, and the widespread use of torture, ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence as well as all grave violations and abuses committed against children, and reiterating that some of these violations may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,

Reiterating its demand that all parties demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities and avoid establishing military positions in populated areas and desist from attacks directed against civilian objects,

Reaffirming the primary responsibility of the Syrian authorities to protect the population in Syria and reiterating that parties to armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians, and recalling in this regard its demand that all parties to armed conflict comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel,

Recalling the need for all parties to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance,

Expressing grave alarm at the spread of extremism and extremist groups, the targeting of civilians based on their ethnicity, religion and/or confessional affiliations, expressing further grave alarm at the increased attacks resulting in numerous casualties and destruction, indiscriminate shelling by mortars, car bombs, suicide attacks, tunnel bombs as well as hostage taking, kidnappings, and attacks against civilian infrastructure including deliberate interruptions of water supply, condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and recalling in this regard its resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), 2129 (2013) and 2133 (2014),

Deeply disturbed by the continued, arbitrary and unjustified withholding of consent to relief operations and the persistence of conditions that impede the delivery of humanitarian supplies to destinations within Syria, in particular to besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and noting the United Nations Secretary-General’s view that arbitrarily withholding consent for the opening of all relevant border crossings is a violation of international humanitarian law and an act of non-compliance with resolution 2139 (2014),

Emphasizing that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate further in the absence of a political solution to the crisis, reiterating its endorsement of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 (Annex II of resolution 2118 (2013)) and demanding that all parties work towards the immediate and comprehensive implementation of the Geneva Communiqué aimed at bringing an immediate end to all violence, violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international law, and facilitating the Syrian-led process launched in Montreux on 22 January 2014, leading to a transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enables them independently and democratically to determine their own future,

Recalling its intent, expressed in its resolution 2139 (2014), to take further steps in the case of non-compliance with the resolution,

Determining that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region,

Underscoring that Member States are obligated under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to accept and carry out the Council’s decisions,

1. Reiterates that all parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian authorities, must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and must fully and immediately implement the provisions of its resolution 2139 (2014) and its Presidential Statement of 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15);

2. Decides that the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners are authorized to use routes across conflict lines and the border crossings of Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha, in addition to those already in use, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance, including medical and surgical supplies, reaches people in need throughout Syria through the most direct routes, with notification to the Syrian authorities, and to this end stresses the need for all border crossings to be used efficiently for United Nations humanitarian operations;

3. Decides to establish a monitoring mechanism, under the authority of the United Nations Secretary-General, to monitor, with the consent of the relevant neighbouring countries of Syria, the loading of all humanitarian relief consignments of the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners at the relevant United Nations facilities, and any subsequent opening of the consignments by the customs authorities of the relevant neighbouring countries, for passage into Syria across the border crossings of Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha, and with notification by the United Nations to the Syrian authorities, in order to confirm the humanitarian nature of these relief consignments;

4. Decides that the United Nations monitoring mechanism shall be deployed expeditiously;

5. Further decides that the decisions contained in operative paragraphs two and three of this resolution shall expire 180 days from the adoption of this resolution, and shall be subject to review by the Security Council;

6. Also decides that all Syrian parties to the conflict shall enable the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance directly to people throughout Syria, by the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners, on the basis of United Nations assessments of need and devoid of any political prejudices and aims, including by immediately removing all impediments to the provision of humanitarian assistance;

7. Notes in this regard the role that ceasefire agreements that are consistent with humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law could play to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in order to help save civilian lives, and further underscores the need for the parties to agree on humanitarian pauses, days of tranquillity, localized ceasefires and truces to allow humanitarian agencies safe and unhindered access to all affected areas in Syria in accordance with international humanitarian law, and recalls that starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited by international humanitarian law;

8. Decides that all Syrian parties to the conflict shall take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel, those of its specialized agencies, and all other personnel engaged in humanitarian relief activities as required by international humanitarian law, without prejudice to their freedom of movement and access, stresses the need not to impede or hinder these efforts, and recalls that attacks on humanitarian workers may amount to war crimes;

9. Reiterates that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 endorsed as Annex II of its resolution 2118 (2013), pays tribute to the efforts of Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, and welcomes the appointment of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary- General for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura;

10. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution, and on compliance with it by all Syrian parties to the conflict, within the framework of its reporting on resolution 2139 (2014);

11. Affirms that it will take further measures in the event of non-compliance with this resolution or resolution 2139 (2014) by any Syrian party;

12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.


The meeting was called to order at 12.05 p.m.

The President: In accordance with rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to participate in this meeting.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.

Members of the Council have before them document S/2014/490, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Australia, Chad, Chile, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution before it. I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.

A vote was taken by show of hands.

In favour:
Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America

The President: There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 2165 (2014).

I shall now give the floor to those members of the Council who wish to make statements after the voting.

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan) (spoke in Arabic): Jordan welcomes the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014). We are proud to have been one of the sponsors and drafters of the resolution, along with Australia and Luxembourg. We negotiated the text of the draft resolution with the other members of the Council, trying our best to come up with the highest degree of consensus thereon. In that regard, we would like thank all members of the Council — permanent and elected — for their good intentions and profound understanding of the goals and motives of the text. We appreciate the unified position taken by the Council.

The resolution is a response to the non-compliance of Syrian parties, particularly the Syrian authorities, with resolution 2139 (2014). That non-compliance has been confirmed in the past four reports of the Secretary- General, in which he has stated that the humanitarian situation in Syria has deterioriated further and that humanitarian assistance has been on the decline.

The resolution is an operational text and should be read in concert with resolution 2139 (2014). It is designed to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, wherever they are in Syria and through the most direct routes, without delay or discrimination. In that regard, I note that, along with sponsors Australia and Luxembourg, we have been in constant contact and coordination with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, headed by Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos, and her team dealing with the Syrian dossier, with a view to arriving at the most efficient means to extend humanitarian assistance on the ground.

In conclusion, Jordan hopes that the Council will take measures against any Syrian that does not abide by resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014), adopted today.

Ms. Lucas (Luxembourg) (spoke in French): The unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014) by the Security Council today is a glimmer of hope in the distressing picture of the conflict ravaging Syria.

The conflict has created unimaginable suffering. A year ago we mourned the deaths of 100,000 people; that number has probably doubled since then. Some 3 million refugees have fled Syria, and their numbers are growing with every passing day. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 10.8 million people in Syria — half of them children — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Some 6.4 million individuals have been internally displaced in Syria, and more than 4.5 million live in areas difficult or impossible to access for humanitarian workers. Among the crimes perpetrated daily, in particular by the Syrian armed forces, I note the bombing of hospitals and schools, intentional attacks on health staff, attacks on humanitarian convoys, the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs, and starvation as a weapon of war so as to bring besieged populations to their knees.

In order to protect civilians caught in the cross- hairs of this war, the Security Council has repeatedly called on parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. That was the thrust of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/15 that the Council adopted on 2 October 2013, as well as the direct intention behind resolution 2139 (2014), adopted four months ago with a view to improving humanitarian access to the affected populations. It was also the idea behind draft resolution S/2014/348, blocked by a double veto two months ago, which sought to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Since the adoption of resolution 2139 (2014), the humanitarian situation in Syria has only deteriorated. In his latest report on the implementation of the resolution (S/2014/427), the Secretary-General is forced to note that the primary obstacle to humanitarian access is the deliberate decision of the Syrian authorities to systematically prohibit the delivery of vital supplies. Month after month, the Syrian authorities have confiscated medication and surgical equipment intended for the most vulnerable sector of the population living in areas controlled by the opposition. Month after month, the Syrian authorities have continued to block humanitarian convoys at crossing points identified by the United Nations as priorities. As a result, month after month the number of Syrians deprived of humanitarian assistance has only grown.

Given all this, as well as Syria’s blatant non-compliance with resolution 2139 (2014), the sponsors of resolution 2165 (2014) — Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg — were forced to seek other ways and means to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches more Syrians wherever they may live, be it in areas controlled by the Syrian Government or by the opposition, and that humanitarian assistance is not instrumentalized by the Syrian authorities to political and military ends. That is the basic goal of the new resolution.

The provisions of resolution 2165 (2014) are clear and legally binding. They are based on the observation that the ongoing deterioration of the humanitarian situation threatens peace and security in the region. In adopting resolution 2165 (2014), the Security Council has taken decisions that leave no room for ambiguity or uncertainty. The United Nations humanitarian bodies and their partners are authorized to transport aid to Syria through four additional crossing points in neighbouring countries — two on the border with Turkey, one on the border with Iraq and one on the border with Jordan. The use of those additional border crossings should allow assistance to reach between 1.4 and 2 million people who have hitherto been inaccessible to humanitarian workers.

The consent of the Syrian authorities will no longer be necessary. The monitoring mechanism, established under the auspices of the Secretary-General for an initial period of six months, provides for a simple notification system. Resolution 2165 (2014) also affirms that the United Nations and its partners are authorized to use routes that cross conflict lines so as to bring aid through the most direct channels to those who are in need. The United Nations and its partners can distribute medical and surgical supplies without interference from Damascus.

The delivery of humanitarian assistance should begin immediately and without hindrance throughout Syria on the basis of needs assessed by the United Nations, rather than by Damascus. Resolution 2165 (2014) is an operational, specific and innovative document. We sincerely hope that it will facilitate a true breakthrough on the ground. If resolution 2165 (2014) is not complied with and resolution 2139 (2014) continues to suffer the same fate, the Security Council has clearly affirmed that supplementary measures will be taken.

In voting today, the Security Council has prioritized shared humanity and the common concern for the interests and vital needs of the Syrian people. We are proud to have actively contributed to this, alongside our Australian and Jordanian colleagues. The humanitarian distaster will nevertheless persist and continue to have a serious impact on neighbouring countries so long as a political solution to the Syrian conflict is not found. I should therefore like to conclude by expressing the hope that the Security Council’s newfound unanimity and the appointment on 10 July of Mr. Staffan De Mistura as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria will breathe new life into the search for a political solution.

Mr. Quinlan (Australia): Obviously, we welcome the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014) by the Council today, and thank our co-authors, Jordan and Luxembourg, for the work done in bringing it to fruition. Decisively, the Council has been united today in recognizing that the humanitarian situation in Syria — already the greatest humanitarian crisis of this century — has become even more desperate, and that immediate action is necessary to meet the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.

While the adoption of the resolution is clearly welcome, it should not have been necessary. Resolution 2139 (2014) set out very clearly in February the Council’s expectations of what the Syrian parties need to do in order to relieve the terrible suffering of the Syrian people, including allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered across borders and conflict lines. However, as the Secretary-General has advised us four times, each month since its adoption in February, resolution 2139 (2014) has been ignored.

As a result, the humanitarian situation in Syria has actually worsened. Since February, the number of people in need of assistance has increased by 1.5 million, from 9.3 to 10.8 million — half the population — and the number of those in areas out of reach of assistance has grown by more than 1 million, to 4.7 million. Only 1 per cent of people in besieged areas are being reached; only 12 per cent of those in hard-to-reach areas are receiving aid, and the amount of this meagre assistance has actually declined each month since February. Six to seven thousand new refugees are generated every day, and at least one family in Syria becomes displaced every minute.

The Security Council was forced to act today because of the failure by the Syrian parties to implement resolution 2139 (2014). It was also forced to act because of the cynical manipulation of humanitarian aid by the regime as part of its military strategy — a strategy that continues to include the outrageous use of aerial bombardment and barrel bombs to deliberately target and kill Syrian civilians, in defiance of the Council and of international humanitarian law. Damascus has pursued a calculated policy of arbitrary denial of desperately needed humanitarian relief. It prohibits the delivery of specific life-saving medical supplies as a matter of policy; medical supplies are routinely removed from World Health Organization convoys.

The resolution adopted today reaffirms the Council’s determination that the Syrian Government and other parties to the conflict must transform their approach to humanitarian access and delivery. It is time for the Syrian parties to put the interests of Syria’s citizens first. Life-saving assistance must be delivered through the most direct routes, including across borders and conflict lines, to reach people in need as the United Nations determies. The United Nations has advised that the four border crossing points identified in today’s resolution will allow at least an additional 1.3 million Syrians to be reached — and perhaps as many as 2 million if successfully utilized.

The Syrian parties are obliged to ensure that immediate and unhindered assistance reaches those in need, including by allowing aid across conflict lines. They must now cooperate with the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners to ensure that happens.

Both this resolution and resolution 2139 (2014), which of course remains fully in force, must be implemented in full. We are under no illusions as to how hard that will be, and even more so as the situation deteriorates every day and the scale of what is needed substantially increases every day. The Council has affirmed again today that there will be real consequences and measures for non-compliance.

The resolution also reaffirms that the only sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis is through a political process. The appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura as the Secretary-General’s new Special Envoy for Syria is a positive step towards resuming negotiations towards a political solution. The Syrian parties, in particular the Syrian Government, must now move to cooperate closely with Mr. de Mistura and make genuine and urgent efforts towards bringing an end to this conflict, which has so devastated Syria, its people and the region.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant (United Kingdom): The United Kingdom welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014) and applauds Luxembourg, Australia and Jordan for their efforts in making the resolution a reality.

Today the Council has taken steps to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those most in need in Syria. It is deeply regrettable that this new resolution proved necessary. In February, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2139 (2014), which should have enabled the widespread delivery of humanitarian aid to people in Syria. Instead, the Syrian regime continued its use of barrel bombs, siege and starvation tactics and its blocking of delivery of aid to its own people. Millions of people were left suffering, while supplies of food and medicines were left waiting if only access were granted.

Since the adoption of resolution 2139 (2014), in February, the Syrian humanitarian crisis has worsened significantly. A further 1.5 million people are in need, with an additional 1.2 million in hard-to-reach areas. Resolution 2165 (2014) is designed to reverse that trend. We are determined to ensure that it has a real impact on the ground.

Today’s resolution authorizes the United Nations to use four additional border crossings to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to some of the hardest- to-reach areas, without any opportunity for the Syrian regime to obstruct, impede or delay that assistance. That means that an additional 1.3 million people can be immediately reached. As such, it marks a major step forward in the international community’s efforts to respond to the horrendous suffering in Syria. It addresses the Syrian regime’s appalling neglect of the human suffering of its own people.

We call on the Secretary-General to swiftly deploy the monitoring mission so that aid can flow through the additional border crossings, and to implement the operation in coordination with the existing non-governmental organizations that are already playing a vital role in getting aid to people in need.

The number of individuals engulfed in the tragedy of the Syrian crisis is staggering. Over 170,000 people are dead. Hundreds of thousands more have been injured. More than 10.8 million people are in need — 4.7 million of them in hard-to-reach areas, and 2.9 million refugees. Today the Council has demonstrated that it is possible to work together to alleviate some of that suffering. But this resolution is just one step in addressing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The only lasting solution to the crisis in Syria is through a political solution. The United Kingdom urges all parties to work cooperatively with the new United Nations Special Envoy, Mr. de Mistura, towars a Syrian-led political transition that truly reflects the will of the people.

This is a strong resolution that is practical and operational and that will save millions of people’s lives. But much more is needed to bring an end to the tragedy taking place every day in Syria. The United Kingdom will continue to work for an end to hostilities and to empower the United Nations to deliver life-saving aid.

Mr. Churkin (Russian Federation) (spoke in Russian): Today the Security Council has adopted a resolution that once again reminds the Syrian parties of the need to stop the violence and immediately implement the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex) and requires them to complly with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights.

Resolution 2165 (2014) also expresses deep concern about the increasing terrorist activity, which serves to hang a sword of Damocles over Syria today. Increasingly violent and senseless terrorist attacks are being carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Islamic Front. On 9 July, the village of Khattab, in the governorate of Hama, was attacked. There were no military or economic targets there of interest to the armed opposition. The killers beheaded 14 people, including seven women and a girl. A similar attack was carried out in the village of Taksis on 10 July, during which women were violently murdered.

As underscored in today’s resolution, it is absolutely clear that the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate in the absence of a political settlement. In those circumstances, the Security Council found it necessary to carefully consider the requests made by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with regard to possible steps to alleviate the suffering of Syrian civilians in areas controlled by the opposition.

The Russiam federation participated actively in the negotiation of this resolution, given the need to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, alleviate the plight of the civilian population in the country and improve conditions for the work of humanitarian agencies. We were able to support the resolution after sponsors took into account our key priorities.

Resolution 2165 (2014), adopted today, reflects the main elements of the arrangement for humanitarian access that we drew up with OCHA and the Syrian side. It reaffirms the need to adhere to the United Nations guiding principles for the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance, as well as a strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria. It also stresses that the provision of humanitarian aid should not be politically motivated.

A monitoring mechanism under the Secretary- General is to be put in place at the border crossings. It will be responsible for inspecting humanitarian convoys going into Syria under United Nations auspices. The functions of the mechanism are carefully spelled out and time-bound. The Security Council will assess the effectiveness of the mechanism again in 180 days.

In that connection, we underscore that the resolution does not provide for an automatic authorization of enforcement measures. Any additional steps must be considered under a separate review process by the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution on the basis of convincing evidence with regard to the activities of any party to the Syrian conflict.

Progress in agreeing on the resolution was achieved as a result of the mutual consideration of the parties’ concerns and interests, which made it possible to reach a compromise. In that regard, we note the constructive position of the Syrian authorities, who, on the practical level, have already taken a number of measures to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need. The resolution stipulates that the monitoring of the humanitarian convoys will be carried out in accordance with the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance, which will ensure that the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria will be rigorously respected.

We expect that, through its activities, the United Nations monitoring mission will interact with the Syrian Government and work objectively and impartially, and that its composition will be established based on the principle of equitable geographical representation and be acceptable to the parties involved. The United Nations monitors should ensure, as set forth in the resolution, the effective monitoring of the transportation into Syria of exclusively humanitarian consignments. We expect the reports to the Security Council on the work of the United Nations to be objective and based on verified information and to cover the activities of all parties, including those of the armed opposition. There is a need to ensure that armed opposition groups also comply with the resolution, which applies equally to all parties.

The resolution adopted today underscores once again the importance of consensus with regard to local ceasefires, which have demonstrated their effectiveness in ensuring food security and saving lives. They also demonstrate that, without outside intervention or attempts to impose solutions or assign victories to either side, Syrian parties are able to agree on saving lives and putting an end to the violence.

More broadly, the situation in Syria, including the humanitarian problem, can be resolved only through a political and diplomatic solution. Experience has shown that the piecemeal approach to the situation in Syria has not been effective. In that regard, we underscore the need for an early resumption of the inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012. We hope that the United Nations Special Envoy, Mr. Staffan De Mistura, will swiftly engage the stakeholder parties in communication on that issue.

The Russian Federation underscores its readiness to work with international and regional partners. Only a collective — and not a unilateral — course of action will be effective, as demonstrated by the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons. We hope that such a constructive and responsible approach, as well as the consensus of the Security Council, will continue throughout the ongoing work on the Russian proposal with regard to the drafting of a presidential statement on the inadmissibility of any attempt to undermine State sovereignty over the oil industry in Syria and Iraq, in particular by terrorist groups.

Ms. Power (United States of America): As we sit here today, nearly 11 million Syrians are struggling to survive the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. I met with some of them last month when I visited the massive and ever-expanding refugee camps along Syria’s border with Turkey. One family after another shared harrowing stories of their communities being bombarded from the air by the Al-Assad regime and their families being deliberately denied humanitarian aid simply because they lived in areas controlled by the opposition. I met children whose parents had fled with them to Turkey because those kids were gravely malnourished, inhumanly denied food and medicine by the Syrian regime.

The Al-Assad regime has until now refused to allow United Nations humanitarian assistance to flow through border crossings it does not control — something members of the Security Council address with resolution 2165 (2014). By adopting that resolution, the Council has opened four crossings to United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners without the need for approval from the regime. Those humanitarian agencies will increase the supply of life-saving aid, including food to eat and medicine to care for the sick and injured. If implemented fully, the resolution will allow critical aid to reach up to 2 million Syrians who have been denied adequate assistance for the past year and suffered immeasurably as a result. The resolution also authorizes the United Nations to cross conflict lines between regime and opposition forces to deliver aid, and the Syrian regime, which is systematically denying cross-line humanitarian assistance, must heed that obligation.

In addition, the resolution adopted today establishes a United Nations monitoring mechanism, under the authority of the Secretary-General and with the consent of Syria’s neighbours, to monitor the United Nations aid consignments in order to confirm that they indeed contain humanitarian aid. The mechanism conforms with the Secretary-General’s proposal and the resolution stipulates that the inspections will occur at loading facilities in neighbouring countries. We are grateful to Syria’s neighbours for their crucial cooperation in this effort and their tremendous generosity in helping respond to the massive humanitarian crisis.

Yet even as we recognize the promise this resolution holds for reaching more people in need, we must not forget that it should have never required a Security Council resolution for a Government to allow food and medicine to reach millions of families whose lives have been hanging in the balance. Yet when the United Nations has requested such permission over the past year, its letters have gone unanswered and its requests have been rejected.

The Al-Assad regime has seized every opportunity to make it more, and not less, difficult to provide such crucial assistance to civilians in dire need. Instead of opening paths for aid, it has deliberately closed them; rather than providing free and unfettered humanitarian access to all Syrians, it has used the denial of aid and the starvation, sickness and misery it imposes as yet another weapon in its cruel and devastating arsenal against opposition-held areas.

The effectiveness of today’s resolution will depend on the efforts and cooperation of many parties. Those parties include the United Nations and international humanitarian agencies, which have made clear their interest in using those crossings. They also include us, as members of the Security Council, who must ensure that the resolution is fully enforced. The Council must be prepared to take decisive action should the parties to the conflict, particularly the Al-Assad regime, fail to comply with it.

To that end, I would remind the Syrian regime that, under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations, Syria is obligated to accept and carry out the decisions made by the Security Council in the resolution. At a time when many are raising questions about the ability of the Council to fulfil its purpose regarding Syria, we have shown again today that we can come together and take action to address the horrific crisis in Syria.

In September of last year, we stood together in demanding that the Al-Assad regime end its use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Today, 100 per cent of declared chemical weapons in Syria have been removed from the country. In February, we stood together in calling on the Syrian regime to allow free and unfettered access for humanitarian assistance and to end the systematic besieging of civilian areas, yet that resolution went largely unheeded.

Today, we are taking steps to ensure that our resolution 2139 (2014) from February has a real impact on the ground, unlocking the impediments that stand in the way of cross-border assistance. There is other unfinished work from that resolution, including ending the systematic targeting of medical facilities and schools and the monstrous use of barrel bombs against civilian areas. The Council must now take the cooperation and unity we have shown today and bring it to bear in ensuring the end of the horrors being perpetrated against the Syrian people.

Mr. Liu Jieyi (China) (spoke in Chinese): China has been closely following the situation in Syria. Over the past three years, the escalating conflict in Syria has brought untold suffering to the Syrian people and resulted in the worsening of the humanitarian situation in parts of the country.

China is deeply concerned about the suffering of the population and has made ongoing efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. On many occasions, China has provided significant amounts of humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighbours through various channels. In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new round of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries, which is being acted upon. China has actively participated in the assistance actions within the United Nations framework and has contributed to the United Nations Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan. We will continue to do our utmost to help improve the humanitarian situation of the Syrians.

China supports the efforts of the international community, in particular the United Nations, to ease the humanitarian situation in Syria. We support the due role of the Council in that process. Resolution 2165 (2014), which we have just adopted unanimously, once again demonstrates that, as long as all parties put the interests of the Syrian people first and meet each other half way, the Council’s consensus on the Syrian issue and robust actions are possible. The unanimous support for resolution 2165 (2014) reflects the important consensus of the Council and the international community on the question of Syria’s humanitarian issue. China calls on all parties in Syria to implement in practice resolution 2165 (2014) and other relevant Security Council resolutions and presidential statements and to actively cooperate with the United Nations and the international community in their humanitarian efforts.

Syria’s neighbours should actively support the work of United Nations and other humanitarian agencies so as to ensure the prompt deployment of the monitoring mechanism and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies. In providing humanitarian relief, United Nations and other humanitarian agencies should act strictly in accordance with the resolution’s mandate. They should respect Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, follow the guiding principles of United Nations humanitarian assistance set out in relevant General Assembly resolutions, and try to ensure the understanding, support and cooperation of the country concerned. The international community should uphold the neutral and impartial nature of humanitarian assistance and should avoid the politicization of humanitarian issues and the militarization of humanitarian actions.

A political solution is the only way out of the Syrian problem. It is also the right way to resolve all matters, including the humanitarian issue. The international community should stay the course of a political solution, continue to engage in coordination and cooperation and step up its efforts in that regard. China calls on all parties in Syria to effectively implement the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex), launch an inclusive political transition and find a middle way that takes into account the country’s specific conditions and accommodates the interests of all parties concerned in order to achieve a political settlement of the Syrian issue.

China has consistently supported the good offices of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the issue of Syria and welcomes his appointment of Mr. De Mistura as the new Joint Special Representative for Syria. We believe that that appointment will give new momentum to the political efforts. As a permanent member of the Council and a responsible member of the international community, China will continue to actively work for a comprehensive, lasting and proper solution of the Syrian issue as soon as possible.

Mr. Barros Melet (Chile) (spoke in Spanish): We thank the delegations of Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg for having submitted resolution 2165 (2014), which Chile co-sponsored and which was adopted unanimously today. However, as has been said, we must not forget that it is a resolution that would not have been necessary if all parties to the conflict had implemented presidential statement S/PRST/2013/15 of 2 October 2013 and resolution 2139 (2014). It is unacceptable that, following the implementation of resolution 2139 (2014), the humanitarian situation has deteriorated even further. Chile supported that resolution because it is a clear call to all parties to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, ensure the protection of civilians and allow humanitarian access to the affected population. None of those are happening today.

The resolution adopted today seeks to propose specific measures to improve humanitarian access, reiterating elements contained in both the presidential statement and resolution 2139 (2014). It therefore complements those documents. We appreciate the inclusion of the reference to the accountability before the law of those who have committed human rights violations and abuses. That is essential in order to put an end to the prevailing culture of impunity in the conflict today.

Chile is aware that the resolution establishes certain procedures and new mechanisms, whose subsequent use in other humanitarian situations should be rigorously assessed case by case. Notwithstanding the above, we believe that, given the negative experience since resolution 2139 (2014) was adopted in February, the bureaucratic obstacles and the bias to which the distribution of such aid has been subject, and the extent of the crisis, those mechanisms reflect the urgent need for specific action on the ground.

In conclusion, we would like to recall the appeal of the Secretary-General in his six points on Syria of 20 June with regard to the fact that the international community must do its utmost to protect the people and their human rights, human dignity and security. Furthermore, we also agree that there should be an end to the militarization of the conflict, including the flow of weapons from abroad to all parties. We hope that the consensus shown by the Security Council today, reflected in the clear message that we are send to all actors, is heard.

Any effort of the Council to address the humanitarian situation will be insufficient if a political solution is not achieved. That is why we value the fact that, despite all the difficulties and the negative outlook, we continue to insist on that. As the resolution points out, the only sustainable solution to the crisis is an inclusive political process led by the Syrians, with a view to fully implementing the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012 (S/2012/522, annex). While thanking Mr. Brahimi for his efforts in pursuit of peace, we now give our support to the appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura as Joint Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Syria.

Mr. Oh Joon (Republic of Korea): The Republic of Korea welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014). We greatly appreciate the hard work of the authors of resolution 2165 (2014) — Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg — during the past several weeks. The resolution that we have adopted today is crafted in an operationally focused manner so as to address the current ineffectiveness of humanitarian access into and within Syria. The Republic of Korea co-sponsored and voted in favour of the resolution in the expectation of the full and immediate implementation of the measures provided for therein.

More than four months have passed since the Council adopted resolution 2139 (2014), which remains far from having been implemented.

Syria continues to be devastated by the never- ending violence, and civilians, including women and children, continue to bear the brunt of the war.

Under the circumstances, it is critical for the Council to see to it that this new resolution actually makes a difference in the humanitarian situation on the ground. We urge all parties in Syria, particularly the Syrian Government, to fully comply with the provisions of resolution 2165 (2014) and the Council’s presidential statement of 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15).

For its part, the Security Council should live up to its promise that it will take further measures in the event of non-compliance by any party.

Mrs. Perceval (Argentina) (spoke in Spanish): I should like to begin by quoting a leader whom we frequently honour, Nelson Mandela, who said that the Geneva Conventions continue to remind us strongly of the obligation that we all have to take care of one another.

The adoption of resolution 2139 (2014) last February was a very important event. At that time, the Security Council unanimously sent a clear message to all of the parties without exception recalling their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and requiring that they ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

At that time, we all trusted that, unlike what happened with respect to the presidential statement adopted on 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15), the voice of a united Council would be heeded and lead to a change in the trend of the accelerated deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Unfortunately, despite the adoption of several measures, almost five months later that trend has, in many aspects, not changed, but, rather, worsened. The four consecutive reports of the Secretary-General confirmed unambiguously that the parties to the conflict continue to overlook and systematically violate international law, and that the delivery of assistance to areas controlled by the Government as well as by the opposition has diminished instead of expanding.

That is why Argentina voted in favour of the resolution, upholding the pledge made in resolution 2139 (2014) to take additional measures in case of non-compliance. We did so convinced that with its adoption, the Council is once again shouldering its responsibilities and strengthening its determination to protect civilians and ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance, while reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

At the same time, we would like to acknowledge the fact that our concerns and proposals have been taken into account and incorporated into the adopted text. Today the Council has determined that the humanitarian agencies of the United Nations can deliver assistance to the millions of people who find themselves in certain zones and regions that thus far have been inaccessible or difficult to access. It is important to underscore that many of those areas are controlled by armed opposition groups, which have the duty to ensure that humanitarian workers are able to carry out their work in a safe and unhindered manner. We take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who daily risk their lives to deliver assistance to those who require it the most.

We fully agree with the statement that the full implementation of the Council’s requirements could change the lives of millions of people within Syria and contribute to alleviating the heavy burden that neighbouring countries have, with deep solidarity, been bearing.

But we must be clear. We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that simply with the appropriate measures and robust humanitarian action to assist refugees and displaced persons, it will be possible not only to save lives but also to contain the crisis within the confines of Syrian territory and the immediate region. That is because even in the unlikely event that all necessary funding is provided, and if we could ensure unrestricted access for assistance, it is clear that the consequences of the conflict are measured not only in the number of deaths, the destruction of the country and the millions of people who require food, medicine and shelter. Its impact is also reflected in the destabilizing effects of the unbridled growth of sectarian tensions that we see throughout the Middle East. This is reflected in the expansion of extremist ideologies and terrorist acts throughout the region and beyond, through the actions of young people from different corners of the planet who join the struggle in Syria only to then return, inspired by violence and intolerance, to their places of origin. It is clear, therefore, that all this cannot be contained if the crisis is not resolved.

That is why the resolution we are adopting today clearly reaffirms that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a solution that emerges from an inclusive political dialogue led by the Syrians themselves.

We thus reiterate our call on all parties to resume in good faith the negotiations begun in January and on regional and international players to help to generate the appropriate conditions for this to take place. As we step up our efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to Syria, we must come up with ways to put an end to the flow of arms and to the actions of foreign combatants, which fuel the conflict, and ways to enable the Council to be instrumental in contributing to a political solution to the crisis, thus strongly backing the Secretary-General and his new Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, whom we fully support.

A humanitarian resolution is a decision that is neither based on nor legitimizes the struggle for power or for competing geopolitical interests. A humanitarian resolution finds its legal ground and ethical aim in relieving and preventing human suffering and in ensuring that those people and communities living in conditions of extreme vulnerability can have access to humanitarian assistance, not to live better but simply in order not to die of hunger, thirst or disease.

That is why Argentina reaffirms its position and conviction that military means will not resolve this deep-rooted crisis. We sincerely hope that the step we are taking today with this humanitarian resolution will help to achieve that objective, which will help to pave to way for a political solution and relieve the suffering of millions of people.

Mr. Baublys (Lithuania): Lithuania welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014). More should be done to put an end to the suffering of the millions of civilians trapped in the vicious Syrian civil war. There is no higher value than human life. We all must act in order to guarantee that aid is delivered in a prompt and efficient manner through the most direct routes, across all relevant border-crossing points. We commend the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and all humanitarian partners for their work.

It is the responsibility of the parties to the conflict, under international law, particularly international humanitarian law and international human rights law, to protect the civilian population and unconditionally guarantee to those in need unhindered and immediate access to aid.

When a Government is no longer in a position to guarantee the safety and basic needs of its citizens then it must not stand in the way of international relief organizations to do so. Over the past three years, the crucial principle has been repeatedly violated by all parties to the conflict in Syria. However, the primary responsibility lies with the Syrian Government.

Today we are witnessing in Syria massive and brutal violations of human rights, some of which can be characterized as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Aerial bombings of civilian areas and starvation have become weapons in a war without rules or restraints. Denying essential medical and surgical supplies has become tactics. Every conceivable abuse occurs daily in Syria. Children, women, the elderly, Palestinian refugees, every religious or ethnic minority — nobody is safe. Whole generations of Syrians are at risk of being lost.

The Syrians are waiting for our help. We commend neighbouring States, in particular Lebanon and Jordan, for keeping their borders open for Syrian refugees, including Palestinians. Resolution 2165 (2014) is only a partial and temporary measure. The ultimate goal remains a peaceful settlement of conflict through political process. We welcome the appointment of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Staffan de Mistura. We hope that peace will be restored in Syria. Peace is the only hope for the people of Syria.

The Syrian conflict is no longer a regional problem. It has become a global threat to international peace and security. The Council must not fail to take Article 41 measures in the event of non-compliance with resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014) by any Syrian party, including by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Araud (France) (spoke in French): The Council has just unanimously adopted a new resolution on humanitarian access in Syria (resolution 2165 (2014)). I thank Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg for their efforts in preparing that text.

The adoption of a new resolution was needed because the provisions of presidential statement S/PRST/2013/15 of 2 October 2013 and the provisions of resolution 2139 (2014) have not been implemented by the Syrian regime, as the successive reports of the Secretary-General have noted. It was needed because the tragedy continues in Syria, with a record that has progressively deteriorated for more than three years, claiming more than 170,000 victims, and causing more than 10 million Syrians to flee the violence or to require assistance. It was needed because the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners could do more and better if the Syrian regime did not arbitrarily close its borders, set up an ever-increasing number of bureaucratic obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid, or restrict the flow of assistance to prevent it from reaching areas controlled by the opposition.

Resolution 2165 (2014) will allow for all of that to change, concretely, at least for some of those who do not receive the assistance they could and should receive. It reiterates some fundamental principles of humanitarian action, including the principle that assistance must be distributed without prejudice and without political motivation. It reiterates one of the main demands contained in resolution 2139 (2014), which is that assistance must be delivered by the most direct routes, be it through the front lines or across borders from neighbouring countries.

But the resolution goes further. It opens four border crossing points from neighbouring countries that have been closed until now. That provision, based on the requests of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, could be decisive in reaching nearly 2 million additional people. Finally, the resolution innovates by introducing a convoy inspection mechanism so that the Syrian regime will no longer be able to object to the work of humanitarian actors on its territory.

The resolution is a further step in the efforts of the Council to improve the conditions and efficiency of the work of humanitarian actors. That being said, it does not complement or replace resolution 2139 (2014), all of whose requirements remain valid. In that regard, we recall that the Syrian authorities are using barrel bombs on a mass scale, which is a direct and indisputable violation of resolution 2139 (2014). The resolution has the practical, short-term goal of improving humanitarian work, but also emphasizes that the political transition that should allow for a response to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people has still not taken place.

Finally, the resolution welcomes the appointment of a new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, whom France will support in his efforts to promote a solution based on the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex).

Mr. Cherif (Chad) (spoke in French): Chad welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014). Chad thanks and commends the authors of the resolution — Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg — for having initiating the resolution and for having strongly contributed to its adoption.

Chad hopes that the adoption of the resolution will contribute to improving the humanitarian situation in Syria, howsoever modestly, and to alleviating the suffering of Syrian civilians. Chad calls on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to facilitate unhindered access of needy civilian populations to humanitarian aid. Chad hopes that resolution 2165 (2014) will prove to be more than just one additional document, but that it will put an end to the deliberate obstacles made to the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Chad requests all parties to the conflict to scrupulously respect the provisions of resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014). The Security Council must ensure their effective implementation by all parties to the conflict. In order to put a final end to the suffering of the Syrian people, the international community must redouble its efforts to bring the parties to the conflict to resume negotiations in order to find a lasting political solution to the crisis.

Mrs. Ogwu (Nigeria): Nigeria view the crisis in Syria as an internal conflict that requires a political solution. However, as the fighting remains brutal and intractable and assumes a new dimension with the involvement of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the attendant humanitarian situation calls for concerted international action for effective address.

Resolution 2165 (2014) seeks to accomplish that objective. Nigeria voted in favour of the resolution in the collective search for a remedy for the protracted situation being endured by the Syrian people. The resolution authorizes the United Nations and its implementing partners to deliver humanitarian assistance across borders and conflict lines and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian supplies to those in need. It also establishes a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the contents of aid convoys are indeed intended for humanitarian use.

The adoption of resolution 2165 (2014) today is a demonstration of the unrelenting commitment of the Security Council to work assiduously in the higher interests of the Syrian people. We expect that this resolute effort will continue to serve as a model in the Council’s future efforts. We reiterate the imperative for a political solution to the Syrian crisis and we urge all parties to work towards the implementation of the 30 June 2012 Geneva communiqué (S/2012/522, annex).

It is in that regard that we welcome the appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura as the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, and urge the parties to utilize his good offices and wealth of experience towards the attainment of an amicable solution to the impasse.

I would like to thank the delegations of Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg for their leadership in driving the negotiation process, which culminated in today’s remarkable, unanimous resolution.

The President: I shall now make a very brief statement in my capacity as the representative of Rwanda.

Rwanda welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014), on the humanitarian situation in Syria. We commend the delegations of Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg for introducing the resolution and for their unwavering commitment to humanitarian assistance in Syria. We believe that resolution 2165 (2014), which is a follow-up to resolution 2139 (2014), includes important measures to ease humanitarian access to people in need, as it provides for the opening of four critical border crossings. That will enable humanitarian actors to reach up to 2 million people who are in hard-to-reach areas.

To conclude, Rwanda calls on the Syrian Government, the opposition groups and all other stakeholders to fully implement resolution 2165 (2014), as adopted by the Council. But above all, Rwanda believes that only a political solution will truly end the humanitarian crisis in Syria. In that regard, we welcome the appointment of the new Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura. We hope that all actors will accord him the necessary support in his mission. Meanwhile, we urge those States that have influence on the parties to help in re-animating the Geneva process, so as to find a sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis.

I now resume my functions as President of the Council.

I give the floor to the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr. Ja’afari (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic): At the outset, allow me to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. I wish you continued success.

I would like to begin my statement by condemning the ongoing savage Israeli aggression against Gaza and the Palestinian people and the ongoing political and humanitarian indifference with regard to the tragedy of the Palestinian people, which has lasted for more than 66 years. That tragedy has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, destroyed their hopes and dreams and serve to cast aside all the promises and resolutions adopted by the Council to do justice to the Palestinian people.

The humanitarian element constitutes one of the main aspects of the crisis in Syria. It is clear that there are those who work with unrivalled dedication to use creative terrorism as a tool to exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Syria, with the aim of exploiting it to exert political pressure on the Syrian Government and to implement interventionist agendas. The Syrian Government, based on its constitutional responsibilities and national duties towards its people, who are political and humanitarian targets, was aware of this matter early on and worked hard to protect its citizens to the best of its ability and to meet their humanitarian needs in the different regions of Syria without discrimination.

With the increase in humanitarian needs as a result of the escalation of terrorist acts, the Syrian Government welcomed and adopted new initiatives and means to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It welcomed every sincere effort to help it alleviate the humanitarian burden on its people. This approach was demonstrated by the Government’s eagerness to cooperate constructively with the United Nations and its agencies working on the humanitarian sphere, including the granting of licenses to 96 Syrian and 16 international non-governmental organizations to work in Syria. All of that was in accordance with the guidelines established in General Assembly resolution 46/182, foremost among which is the principle of respect for the national sovereignty of States while providing humanitarian assistance.

That commitment led to the signing of six humanitarian response plans between the Syrian Government and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the benefit of millions of Syrian citizens. It is self-evident that all measures, regardless of their scope or effectiveness, will be to not avail unless the root causes underlying the humanitarian needs are addressed, that is, the activities of armed terrorist groups, including those affiliated with Al-Qaida. Among other things, those terrorist activities include the destruction of infrastructure, the depletion of the country’s resources, the forced displacement of innocent civilians — depriving them of a safe and decent livelihoods — and the cutting off of water to the city of Aleppo, thereby depriving 3 million Syrian citizens of drinking water.

The flight of millions of refugees and displaced Iraqis because of the terrorism carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) confirms what we have been saying — that the existence of refugees and displaced persons in Syria is due to the same reason: terrorism sponsored from abroad. Ending terrorism is therefore a prerequisite for ending the suffering of the Syrian people. That is consistent with the statement made by international jurist Carla Del Ponte in pointing out that the Syrian people’s tragedy was growing because of foreign mercenaries and groups like ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front. In that regard, we reiterate that we will be able to put an end to terrorism only by bringing immediate pressure to bear on the Governments of the countries that are financing, arming and training terrorist elements and those securing, harbouring and facilitating their passage into the Syrian territory. In order to fully abide by Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism, it is high time for this international Organization to take a bold stand in the face of the Saudi, Qatari and Turkish practices of supporting terrorism. The irresponsible and frantic quest to destabilize Syria and Iraq using immoral methods is the main reason for the fuelling and spreading of terrorism in the entire region.

It is not enough for a State to claim that it is against terrorism and to place an entity linked to Al-Qaida on its list of terrorists in order that it can claim innocence with regard to being involved in propagating and supporting terrorism. It is also not enough to make statements to the media about the spread of terrorism and terrorist acts in order to spare civilians the scourge of terror. We must stop the politicized media coverage, truly put an end to the various forms of support for those terrorist groups and hold fully accountable those who violate the resolutions on counter-terrorism. It is highly ironic to classify an organization as a terrorist group while at the same time supporting its terrorist activities and enabling it to obtain various forms of assistance, including lethal weapons. Regrettably, in their statements some of my colleagues have described those terrorist groups as the Syrian “opposition”.

As evidence of what I have mentioned, I have a letter dated 17 January from the so-called head of the Free Syrian Army, the fugitive terrorist Salim Idriss, addressed to the leaders of the so-called revolutionary military councils in eastern Syria, which states the following.

“I would like to report that the ammunition sent by the command staff to the leaders of the revolutionary military councils in the eastern region is to be divided up in accordance with the agreement: two thirds to warlord leaders of Jabhat Al-Nusra and one third to be equally divided among the military and the revolutionary elements in order to fight the ISIS gangs. We would appreciate it if you would send us the delivery receipts for the total amount of the ammunition, in terms of quantity and quality, with the personal signatures of the leaders and warlords so that the receipts can be given to the Turkish and French partners.”

Two thirds of the ammunition reached the so-called moderate opposition, the leaders of Jabhat Al-Nusra, who are classified by the Council as a terrorist entity affiliated with Al-Qaida.

Furthermore, how is it possible that some permanent members of the Security Council talk about providing lethal weapons to the so-called moderate military opposition, even though the President of one of those countries has acknowledged that one cannot rely on the opposition. Everyone knows that the label is only a cover to conceal terrorist groups affiliated with Al-Qaida, such as ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra and others.

In addition to the activities of the terrorist groups, there are other factors that hamper the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria. The necessary steps to deal with such elements should be taken. In short, the most important of those factors are as follows.

First, the negative impact on Syrian citizens as a result of the unilateral and coercive measures imposed on them by the Governments of States that support terrorism. Those States are by definition contributing to the humanitarian crisis, not to a solution.

Secondly, the targeting and repeated plundering of humanitarian convoys by terrorist groups and their killing and detention of Syrian Red Crescent humanitarian workers — 33 of whom have to died to date at the hands of such groups — prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance to many areas throughout Syria. The fundamental problems facing the delivery of humanitarian assistance occur primarily in areas where terrorist groups are active, according to the report of OCHA itself.

Thirdly, despite the boastful scenes and deceptive pledges made at donor conferences, funding for the 2014 Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan has barely reached 29 per cent of the required amount. The choice of some countries to spend vast amounts of their people’s money to finance arms deals to the benefit of terrorists and to facilitate the entry of extremists into Syria, rather than to allocate those resources to funding the Response Plan, shows their hypocrisy and exposes their false claims of being concerned about improving the humanitarian situation in Syria.

The Syrian Government relies on the impartial, effective and responsible role of the United Nations in dealing with the humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular with regard to respect for Syrian sovereignty, not to mention the cooperation and commitment of the Syrian Government in the humanitarian area, ensuring the non-politicization of humanitarian assistance and refraining from the manipulation of border crossings by some actors to allow the entry of weapons and terrorists. We underscore the need for certain senior United Nations officials to fully comply with their mandates, in accordance with Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations, and to refrain from pursuing the agendas of their national Governments.

In conclusion, one cannot support terrorism while claiming to seek to put an end to the humanitarian suffering in Syria. The stubborness of some Governments in denying their huge strategic mistakes in Syria cannot be seen as political maturity or a sense of responsibility towards the humanitarian crisis. After all that has taken place, we have not heard any apology from the officials of those countries that have supported terrorism in Syria and Iraq, while remaining suspiciously silent with regard to declaring a state of terrorism. Instead, we still hear the shameful description of those insurgents as freedom fighters, jihadists and armed opposition. A very important book, entitled Syria: Why the West was Wrong, was recently published in Paris. In the preface, the author wrote:

“How could the West have been so wrong about Syria? It is the result of a mixture of historical ignorance, political Manichaeism and diplomatic wishful thinking.”

The Syrian people need the Governments of those States to consider the sins that they have committed towards the Syrian people and to strive to make amends for them before the flame of that terrorism reaches their own territories. In order to improve the humanitarian situation in Syria, it is first and foremost necessary to put an end to terrorism and to support the path of national reconciliation, which has significantly helped improve the humanitarian situation in those areas where that has happened. A Syrian-led national dialogue and the choice of the Syrian people and their aspirations must be supported.

I would like to mention that the presidential election that recently took place in Syria, with multiple candidates, proved that the first and last choice in deciding Syria’s future lies in the hands of the Syrian people, not a group of States that wrongly puts itself forward as the custodian of the destiny of the world’s nations. The election also showed that the Syrian people were united in the face of pressure and that no one, however powerful, could separate the Syrian people from their rights, as has been the case in other countries.

The President: There are no more names inscribed on the list of speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 1.30 p.m.

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