Intervention by the co-penholders for the Syria humanitarian file– Germany, Belgium and Kuwait – before the vote on the resolution on the situation in Idlib

19.09.2019 - Speech

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Thank you, Mr. President,

The Syria humanitarian co-penholders have, for the past few months endeavored to draw the attention of the Security Council to the plight of the civilians in Idlib.

 We have taken an incremental approach to this matter, first convening closed consultations, followed by formal meetings and then attempts to issue press elements and a press statement. However, it has proven impossible to reach agreement on any public statement of the Security Council in this room.

All the while, the violence in Idlib has continued over the past months and has led to the displacement of over half a million civilians, and the death of over one thousand people. It has caused extensive damage to medical and educational facilities, as well as other civilian infrastructure.

We remain convinced that the Council cannot stay silent and must act. That is why we have tabled this humanitarian resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities. We have negotiated this draft resolution in a transparent manner and in a thorough process, and have engaged with all Council members extensively and in good faith on the text.

The outcome of these negotiations is now before you. A draft resolution that we believe is balanced and whose focus is purely humanitarian, whilst also acknowledging that counter terrorism measures must be taken in accordance with international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution.

The Council has a clear responsibility to fulfill today. Many lives are at stake. We need to do all we can to live up to our obligations.

We are well aware that there is another initiative on the table as well, which was neither shared nor discussed with the majority of Council members in advance. No round of negotiations took place.

This contravenes what has been agreed in articles 80 and 81 of note 507, which clearly states that the drafting of resolutions should be carried out in an inclusive manner that allows for the participation of all Council members, and to engage in timely consultations with Council members, and to convene at least one round of informal consultations.  

 Furthermore, the focus of this other project is different and an insufficient reflection of the complexity of the situation we are faced with in Idlib today.

On behalf of the co-penholders, we urge all Council members to vote in favor of our draft humanitarian resolution.


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