Statement delivered before the vote by Ambassador of Ireland, Geraldine Byrne Nason:
Thank you Mr. President. I deliver this statement on behalf of Norway and Ireland.
Today we are meeting to vote on a draft resolution put forward by Ireland and Norway which would authorize the cross-border humanitarian aid operation into Syria.
It is no secret that this has been a difficult negotiation. As penholders, Ireland and Norway have engaged diligently and constructively with all Council members. After the draft resolution we put on the table last week was vetoed, we redoubled our efforts to find a path through so that the Council could adopt a resolution which would allow humanitarians to continue to reach those in dire need in Syria.
The result of our efforts is now before you in the form of a new draft resolution.
Throughout this process, like so many around this table, Ireland and Norway have been guided solely by the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.
The authorization for the cross border operation expired at midnight on Sunday night. For the Syrian people, and for all those humanitarians who work diligently to assist them, this has been a long and uncertain couple of days. The fear that vital supplies of aid will be cut generated significant uncertainty and fear.
The resolution before us would now renew the border crossing at Bab al Hawa for six months. It anticipates the further extension for an additional six months, which will require a separate resolution. Importantly, a special report from the Secretary-General on the humanitarian needs in Syria will inform that decision.
We recognize that a six month renewal is shorter than we as penholders aimed for when we started this negotiation. We recognize also that the vast majority of the Council shared our view, and the view of humanitarian actors on the ground, that a 12 month mandate was needed.
What is most important today, is that the Council, with this resolution can ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to reach those in need. This draft resolution will facilitate further early recovery efforts and encourage regular follow-up meetings on implementation.
This compromise represents a delicate balance between the different positions of Council members at this time. We are grateful to all Council Members for their engagement to this end. Now it is time for this Council to assume its responsibility.
We commend this draft resolution to the Council and we ask all Members to support it.
Statement delivered after the vote by the Ambassador of Norway, Mona Juul:
Thank you, Mr. President. I deliver this statement on behalf of Norway and Ireland.
As penholders, Norway and Ireland welcome the Council’s adoption of this resolution renewing the authorization for the cross-border humanitarian aid operation into Syria.
Throughout this negotiation, Norway and Ireland engaged carefully and constructively with all Council Members. Our objective has always been clear: humanitarian aid must reach all people in need in Syria. We have listened carefully to the UN and to humanitarian agencies on the ground. They were clear that given the level of humanitarian need in North West Syria, the cross-border mechanism must be renewed.
They were also clear that for effective implementation of the humanitarian response serving the long-suffering people of North West Syria, a minimum of twelve month extension was needed. As penholders we worked for that outcome, and we regret the use of the veto by one member of the Council which prevented this.
The resolution we adopted today keeps the critical cross border mechanism open. It allows for this lifesaving humanitarian operation to continue.
For those in humanitarian need in North West Syria, who have been in an uncertain situation with the negotiations running into overtime, we can now reassure them. And that’s what matters. The Cross Border operation is their lifeline. And today, the cross border operation remains.
The Council has a responsibility to put the needs of Syrians first, and to ensure humanitarian relief can reach those who rely on it.
As we move forward, it is incumbent upon every one of us to come together for the sake of the people of Syria, to support humanitarian deliveries by any modality, and to support continued and enhanced early recovery efforts.
It is our sincere hope that this Council can build on this adoption, to engage in further constructive dialogue on Syria, and above all – to put the needs of the people of Syria at the heart of all that we do.
Over eleven years into the terrible conflict, the people of Syria have suffered too much, for too long. Ireland and Norway call for redoubled efforts to work towards a political solution in Syria. We call on all parties to engage urgently and constructively with the efforts of the Special Envoy.
Finally, Ireland and Norway wish to thank all Council members for their engagement on this important file. We would like to warmly acknowledge the critical role played by the 10 elected members of the Council throughout this process. With this resolution the Council ensures that lifesaving humanitarian assistance continues to be delivered to the many millions in need in North-West Syria.