Humanitarian aid in Syria: a life and death issue for thousands of people
Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 19 December 2017
Let me say a few words on the renewing of Resolution 2165, which is our top priority today, because we want to keep the delivery of humanitarian aid across borders without interruption. I’d like to emphasize that this is a life and death issue for thousands of people, literally.
Who can seriously argue that the humanitarian situation in Syria has improved? Just look at the figures. When we renewed this resolution last year, 10 million people in Syria needed humanitarian aid. Today they are 13 million.
I would also like to sound the alarm bell on the situation in Eastern Ghouta. This is a new Aleppo in the making: 400,000 people trapped with no access to food and basic medical care. Still 500 people in need of urgent medical evacuation. And this is a so-called de-escalation zone. The Syrian regime continues bombing its population, using hunger as a war tool: this constitutes a war crime and is not only a violation of basic humanitarian law, it’s also a morale terrible failure. So we urge all to pressure the Syrian regime to stop this catastrophic situation.
Second, on the political side, we will listen to Staffan de Mistura. The latest Geneva round was clearly a moment of truth. Here again, let me be clear. The Syrian opposition participation was unified and very constructive. On the other side, the Syrian regime chose an irresponsible strategy of obstruction by not engaging in the discussion. This is irresponsible given what’s at stake in Syria and it needs to be said and clearly said.
You know our position with respect to the Geneva process. In our view the UN must be front and center. Now, more than ever. There is no alternative to the Geneva process led by the UN. There is no other game in town credible to get to a political solution.
So this is what I wanted to say in a clear terms today before the consultations we are about to have.
Q: Ambassador, on the cross-border aid, if Russia supports and there is an unanimous vote, should we see this as a new – I can’t say consensus- but some new unity around Syria?
This is a good question Carol. I think that indeed, ideally, if there is a strong agreement on the 2165, it could be used as a leverage to try to build unity on other issues related to Syria.