Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Meeting on Syria

Mr. President,

We thank Special Envoy of the Secretary-General G.Pedersen for his input. We share many of his assessments.

Russia takes active steps to promote political process and restore trust between the conflicting sides in Syria. Together with Turkey and Iran, we work in the framework of Astana format, interact with the Special Envoy and coordinate with the government and opposition of Syria.

On April 25-26, Nur-Sultan hosted the 12th International Meeting on Syria that resulted in a joint statement by the guarantors.

By the way, I would like to address the distinguished representative of the U.S. and say that we are not the “so-called guarantor countries”, but just “guarantor countries”. Today we circulated the statement as an official Security Council Document.

The “Astana troika” confirmed its unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as to the goals and principles of the UN Charter. In this context, it was pointed out that according to UNSC resolution 497 the Golan Heights remain a Syrian territory under Israel’s occupation.

Specific attention is paid to the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, where the situation remains tense. Militants from terrorist group “Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham” intensified attacks against the Syrian military forces. They also attempt to transform into moderate opposition and unite armed formations in Idlib under their lead.

We should set forth our fight against terrorist organizations recognized by the UN. The guarantors are firmly committed to fully implement obligations on Idlib stabilization.

Nur-Sultan hosted another round of exchange of opinions regarding the situation in Syria. It was recognized that stability and security in the region can be established only based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Thereby all the separatist plans that undermine national security of Syria and its neighbor-States should be abandoned.

There were targeted consultations in a trilateral format and talks with G.Pedersen that were aimed at boosting action to launch the Constitutional Committee. This will give start to a vital process of crisis settlement. Just like the Special Envoy, we are optimistic when it comes to finalizing our preparatory work on this track.

We have convened the 8th Session of the Working Group on releasing detainees/hostages, transfer of bodies of the dead and search for those who are missing. We welcomed the successful operations that released forcibly detained individuals in November 2018, February and April 2019 (the total of 82 people). This is a unique contribution to reinstalling trust between the sides in Syria.

We remain optimistic about further development of the situation in Syria. It is evident for everyone that as the country goes towards elimination of terrorist hotbeds, normalization and peaceful life, the issues of post-conflict building and humanitarian assistance come to the fore.

Humanitarian aid should be provided to all Syrians at the entire territory of the country without any preconditions.

We appreciate that the U.S. delegation finally got bothered about the fate of Rukban’s inhabitants. We have repeatedly called for it. Now we call to join the efforts on the resettlement of this camp – something the U.S. has been impeding for quite long.

Once again, we urge to realize the harmfulness of the unilateral sanctions, introduced by a number of Western countries. They only exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Syria. It is the ordinary people who suffer from this. These restrictions have mostly caused massive energy crisis in Syria.

Syria is one of the key States in the Middle East, an inalienable part of the Arab world. It cannot be torn out from the region-wide context just to suit some shortsighted politicized opportunistic goals. We stand for the soonest reintegration of Damascus in the “Arab family”. It will add to the reinstallment of inter-Arab concord and help to improve the situation in the Middle East.

I believe our partners in Astana format will agree that we stand open for fair interaction without behind-the-scenes meddling. During the meeting in Nur-Sultan the “troika” agreed to invite Syria’s neighbor-States, Iraq and Lebanon, to become observers at the Astana process.

We call upon everybody who genuinely wants to bring peace back to Syria to join our efforts constructively. Together we can put an end to the war and focus on the political process and national reconciliation.

Thank you.