Statement of Germany, delivered by Ambasador Antje Leendertse at the UNGA Plenary Debate on 21 July 2022, pursuant to GA Resolution 76/262 following the use of the veto by a Permanent Member during the 9087th meeting of theSecurity Council on 8 July 2022 on “The situation in the Middle East”

21.07.2022 - Speech

as delivered

Germany fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

At the outset, let me stress that we deeply regret the latest veto cast by Russia against the resolution proposed by Norway and Ireland for a twelve-month renewal of the cross-border mechanism in Bab al-Hawa.

By using its veto power yet another time, against the position of all other Security Council Members, Russia was not only gambling with the lives of millions of Syrians who rely on humanitarian aid for their sheer daily survival. It held this – purely humanitarian resolution – hostage to achieve its political goal of bolstering the Syrian regime. We strongly condemn such political tactics. The lives of humans should, under no circumstances, become a pawn of political power games. This is inhumane and morally unacceptable.

Humanitarian access in the situation at hand is governed by international humanitarian law. The parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need and such consent must not be refused on arbitrary grounds.

The uncertainty created by the repeated threat and use of the veto over the past years clearly is at the expense of the Syrian people as well as the effectiveness of the humanitarian work provided by the United Nations and its partners. It is also a distraction from the Council’s core task in the Syria file: to work towards a sustainable political solution within in the framework of UNSC Resolution 2254 that addresses the root causes of the conflict and ensures accountability.

We do expect the Security Council to renew once more the cross-border mandate in January – simply because it will be a humanitarian imperative to ensure life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian deliveries for more than 4 million Syrians in northern Syria, particularly throughout the harsh winter.

The General Assembly needs to closely follow the humanitarian situation in Syria, too. Any failure to guarantee the continuity of humanitarian aid deliveries will need to see consequences.

Thus, the General Assembly should stand ready to assist given a scenario, in which the Council shows itself again obstructed. It did so when it successfully established the IIIM Mechanism. This foreshadows the way for further action of this Assembly – if need be.

Humanitarian needs in Syria are most likely to increase in the upcoming months, and, particularly, in the winter ahead. Demands will be further exacerbated in light of the global food crisis and skyrocketing prices for basic commodities and energy due to Russia’s unlawful and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine. We cannot risk another obstruction that would deprive people in dire need from receiving international humanitarian assistance.

We therefore urgently call on the Russian Federation to refrain from using its veto power again.

Furthermore, it is important to reiterate and remind ourselves that there can only be a political solution to the conflict in Syria. We underscore that no normalisation, lifting of sanctions or assistance for reconstruction will be possible until the Syrian regime in Damascus engages in a true and meaningful political transition in line with UNSC Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.

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