Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the political situation in Syria
We thank you for this practical demonstration of how the irresponsible choice of CSO briefers can turn a serious discussion into a low-grade talk show and farce.
We thank SESG Pedersen for providing a review of the political situation in Syria.
We consider the 9th round of the Editorial Board of Syria's Constitutional Committee, which is scheduled to convene at the end of the next month (25-29 July) in Geneva as an important development. Direct inter-Syrian dialogue taking place under UN auspices and in accordance with UNSC resolution 2254 needs to continue. Progress at the track of Syrian political settlement is even more demanded now that the situation on the ground remains rather tense. Main threats to security of Syria and the entire region come from the remaining large-scale terrorist presence in Idlib, cross-Euphrates area and Al-Tanf that are not controlled by Damascus. We see the root causes of this rather explosive situation in the fact that the West keeps “flirting” with terrorist elements trying to use them to achieve their own geopolitical goals.
In this context, we are convinced that the path to resolving the Syrian crisis goes through terminating foreign military presence that violates sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and putting an end to regular strikes of Israeli air force, last of which targeted the International Airport of Damascus on 10 June. The Airport was seriously damaged – the strike hit the tarmac, which is why all flights had to be put on hold, including the flights of the UN Humanitarian Air Service.
We regret that politicized and prejudiced position of Western delegations blocked our proposed UNSC press statement. Once again, we could see how your politicized approaches affect your principles.
In parallel to what I mentioned, the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in Syria is seriously deteriorating, which leaves the record number of 14.6 million people (by UN estimates) in need of assistance. Obviously, those are direct consequences of the suffocating sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. It is especially discouraging that we are having such a situation almost a year after UNSC adopted resolution 2585, which was designed to alleviate Syria’s humanitarian burden via implementing early recovery projects.
Return of refugees is another acute problem. States that receive Syrian refugees (Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey) do not conceal that there are limits to their accommodation capacity. As for Western states, they stubbornly refuse to help Syrians get back home. Instead, they prefer sponsoring their stay in host countries.
We believe we need to safeguard refugees’ fundamental right to return to their homes, as envisaged in UNSC resolution 2254, given due coordination of such efforts with Damascus. In this regard, let me highlight that President Assad issued an amnesty for terrorist activity and crimes committed before 30 April 2022 excluding manslaughter. This decision by the Syrian leadership in addition to the January amnesty for those who evaded conscription creates favorable conditions for return of Syrian refugees. Besides, Damascus proves ready to take concrete steps to promote civil reconciliation, be active at the track of detainees/abductees. It means that the Syrian Government is working on implementing UNSC resolution 2254.
Russia also contributes to general settlement in Syria. Together with our partners in the Astana Format, Iran and Turkey, we have convened the 18th International Meeting on Syria in Nur-Sultan, following which we adopted a joint statement. This statement was circulated as an official document of the Council.
We note the successful operation of mutual release of detainees that took place on 13 June in the framework of a special working group that was established with assistance of the Astana Format. The operation proved that the sides are ready to further engage within the WG, which is a unique mechanism that has proven its relevance and effectiveness in building confidence among the Syrian sides.