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Security Council Rejects Two Draft Resolutions Aimed at Renewing Cross-Border Humanitarian Operations in Syria’s North-West
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Remarks from H. E. Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations:

“Brazil and Switzerland are very disappointed that the Security Council did not adopt the draft resolution on cross-border humanitarian aid into Syria, on which we have just voted (S/2023/506). Over recent weeks, we engaged with all Council members, as well as partners in the region, and did not spare any efforts — any efforts — to accommodate concerns and reach common ground. We engaged constructively and in good faith, always keeping one single and clear aim in our minds: to ensure that millions of people in need would get the humanitarian assistance on which they rely to survive in the most difficult circumstances. The text would have ensured that life-saving humanitarian assistance continued to reach those in need in north-west Syria by all modalities, cross-border and cross-line, and by all humanitarian actors with no exception. The Secretary-General, as well as humanitarian partners working on the ground, have stressed that the 12-month mandate duration would provide humanitarian actors with the predictability necessary for their operation planning. Even though we hear and support their call, we made a further compromise — for a nine-month extension. This timeline would allow for bridging the harsh winter months and still enable the expansion of humanitarian activities, including early-recovery efforts called for by the draft resolution. And in a context of humanitarian needs worldwide that is far outgrowing the available funds, it would still improve the cost efficiency of the whole-of-Syria humanitarian response. The briefings the Security Council receives monthly leave no doubt that the humanitarian needs in Syria are greater than ever before. The earthquakes in February have further compounded an already very complex humanitarian crisis. We have continuously stressed the need for all modalities, including cross-border and cross-line, to be available for humanitarian actors across Syria. The cross-border operation remains a lifeline for millions of Syrians who are dependent on humanitarian aid. We welcome the engagement from all sides during this negotiation process. We are thankful for the support that our approach and text received from the vast majority of Council members. We deeply regret that this compromise was rejected through the use of one veto. As co-penholders, Brazil and Switzerland are guided by the humanitarian imperative. We will therefore not let this veto cease our tireless efforts to find a solution. We will continue to engage with all Council members to ensure that humanitarian aid keeps reaching those in need.”

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