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Security Council - Briefing on the situation in Syria

Date:

04/27/2017


Security Council - Briefing on the situation in Syria

Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria ---

Thank you Madam President, and thank you Mr O’Brien for your briefing and the humanitarian agencies. You have the full support of Italy.

The Syrian conflict has already caused unspeakable levels of human suffering. International humanitarian law is violated. Terrorism continues to kill scores of Syrians, including children, like in the barbaric attack in Rasheedin, on 15 April.

The carnage that has reached new thresholds of horror with the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun offends our common humanity and can undermine any path towards a credible end to the Syrian conflict.

Madam President,

We take note of the increase in the number of interagency convoys that have reached their destinations in “Hard-to-Reach” areas since last month. This is a demonstration that humanitarian access can be provided in Syria but it is not enough.

It is now all the more important to focus on besieged areas where the situation has worsened, especially in Eastern Ghouta, where 400.000 (four hundred thousand) people under siege, have no medical facilities …. Upon, since all have been destroyed.

Convoys are ready to deliver much needed assistance to Douma and elsewhere but can’t proceed. The armed faction have provided written guarantees for the convoys, whereas the regime - despite Russian pressures - continues to deny the authorization We support the call therefore for an immediate pause in the fighting to allow for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Eastern Ghouta, which cannot become the next Aleppo. This council should closely monitor this issue and step up the pressure on the relevant parties.

Madam President,

Local agreements between the parties to the conflict, often reached after months of sieges and bombings, such as the agreement over the “Four Towns”, are also a cause for concern. They respond to the military logic of the conflict, rather than to ensuring the protection of civilians.

The evacuations that follow such agreements, in which the UN is not involved and is not an observer to, have to respect humanitarian principles. We encourage the UN to monitor the evacuations in the 4 towns and Al Waer to ensure the protection of civilians and prevent further violations of humanitarian law.

Madam President,

The consequences of the conflict have spread across the region. Instability irradiates far beyond Syria, be it in the form of terrorism or in the form of uncontrolled flows of refugees. Legal and safe ways to ensure movement of people fleeing from conflicts are paramount. We commend neighboring countries which provide refuge to the millions of people who have fled the fighting.

In this regard, the Italian Government is carrying out a programme called “humanitarian corridors” which allows safe and legal entry to Italy for people fleeing the conflict. It is an act of solidarity and a means to combat trafficking. A model that other countries are following.

I also wish to highlight the contribution of the recent Brussels Conference. Italy confirmed its commitment of humanitarian aid and longer term assistance for 2017 and 2018. The Conference resulted in a renewed effort of the international community, both in the response to the humanitarian tragedy, and in the direction of a political solution. Of course, humanitarian assistance has to be delivered.

Because, Madam President, the humanitarian and political dimensions are deeply interconnected.

Improving the humanitarian situation is key to creating a constructive environment in Geneva where talks will resume under the leadership of Staffan de Mistura. We cannot allow this critical negotiation to be jeopardized by an intensification of fighting on the ground or by continued lack of humanitarian access to population. The co-garantors of the ceasefire have a special responsibility in this respect and we look forward to the next Astana meeting. As emerged also in the G7 Ministerial meetings, which also included key regional stakeholders, only a political settlement implementing resolution 2254 will bring this conflict and the dire humanitarian situation to an end.

In conclusion, Madam President, I wish to reaffirm the importance of accountability of those responsible of such crimes. We will continue to work with Council members to this end.

I thank you.


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