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General Assembly Debate on Agenda item 124 : “Strengthening of the United Nations system”

General Assembly Debate on Agenda item 124: Strengthening of the United Nations system.
21 July 2022

Statement of the Permanent Representative of Italy, Amb. Maurizio Massari


Mr. Chair,

Italy fully recognizes itself in the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union and would like to add some further remarks in its national capacity.

Today’s plenary meeting is the second implementation of the procedure set by Resolution 76/262 on Strengthening the United Nations system, aimed at debating the use of the veto in the Security Council. However, it is the first time we are debating a veto on a humanitarian Resolution.

More precisely, what we should discuss today are not the political reasons behind Russia’s decision to veto a Resolution on the Cross-Border Mechanism in Syria. As a matter of fact, our topic today should be the humanitarian consequences of such a decision.

Looking carefully at these consequences, the Secretary-General and Under Secretary-General Griffiths strongly requested a renewal of twelve months, instead of the six months duration imposed by Russia, for the following main reasons:

1) First, twelve months would ensure the full coverage of the winter, when humanitarian needs of the population are at their peak;

2) Furthermore, twelve months would allow for better planning of humanitarian agencies;

3) Finally, twelve months would enhance the logistics and the implementation process of NGOs on the ground.

Unfortunately, Russia’s decision to veto the draft tabled after the utmost diplomatic effort of the co-penholders, Ireland and Norway, will create a sense of uncertainty about the future for the Syrian population and an incredibly complex endeavor for the humanitarian system.

These consequences are indeed very tangible both for the Syrian people and for the humanitarian agencies and NGOs on the ground. What is worst is that a short-term renewal is less effective in fostering early recovery projects, requested by Russia itself, due to their inherent medium-term nature.

Mr. Chair,

The Security Council cannot fail to address the urgent humanitarian needs of a suffering population, especially if all the remaining members are not against the co-penholders’ text. Therefore, we urge the Council to renew the cross-border mechanism of Bab Al Hawa next January, hoping that a reliable UN facilitated political process, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, might parallel this renewal.

We commend the exceptional work of OCHA and its implementing partners in Syria and we will ensure our support in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.