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Explanation of vote by the co-penholders for the Syria humanitarian file – Germany and Belgium – following the extension of the cross-border resolution on Syria, July 11, 2020

11.07.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

11 million of Syrians continue to be in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. These are critical needs: food, water, shelter, medical assistance and care. Since 2014, cross-border operations have offered them a true lifeline, allowing the UN and its implementing partners to ensure life-saving assistance, from across the border, upon a mere notification to the Syrian authorities.

Through the last months, the co-penholders have done their utmost to find agreement on a resolution to renew the mechanism. We have worked in good faith and in an inclusive, transparent and thorough manner with all Council members. Our sole guideline was the humanitarian imperative; the fate of the people on the ground.

Three crossings are at the very heart of this mandate and were an absolute necessity from a humanitarian perspective, particularly in the context of a pandemic. As the SG has pointed out repeatedly, the gap left by closing the border point of Yarubiyah in the North-East, earlier this year, is still not filled, by far – the population remains in dire need of medical aid. After many rounds of discussion and of votes, and given the divergent positions among the Members of the Council, this Council had no choice but to make yet another decision that is not reflecting the humanitarian needs on the ground, in order to find compromise. 1.3 million people, including 800 000 IDPs, live in the Aleppo area. Amongst them 500 000 children, received the necessary humanitarian aid through the crossing of Bab al-Salam.

Today is yet another sad day. It is a sad day for this Council, but mostly, it is a sad day for the Syrian people of that region. Both Yarubiyah and Bab al-Salam were vital crossings to deliver, in the most efficient way possible, the humanitarian help, those people deserve.

Yet, in the interest of the almost 3 million civilians who depend on the crossing of Bab al-Hawa, the Council had to make the decision to compromise. The decision we have taken today allows for Bab Al-Hawa to stay open for 12 months. This allows for better planning, predictability to the many NGOs, which -under difficult circumstances- guarantee the survival of the people suffering in and around Idlib. This is the only good news today.  This is why Germany  and Belgium have put forward this draft resolution. We would like to thank the overwhelming majority of Council members for their active support throughout the process.

Finally, we once again, in this context, urge the Syrian Authorities to cooperate fully with the UN and its implementation partners, in the interest of the Syrian people, for the cross-line delivery of aid, fully in line with the needs on the ground.

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