Ambassador James Kariuki’s statement at the Security Council briefing on Syria.
Delivered on: 25 January 2023
Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered:
Let me start by again thanking Special Envoy Pedersen and OCHA Deputy Director Mudawi for their powerful briefings today.
I will highlight three points:
First, the United Kingdom welcomes the recent adoption of resolution 2672 to continue the delivery of life-saving aid to millions of Syrians in need. But let’s be clear – 6 months is not a sufficient timeline within which humanitarians can effectively operate and we heard that again today. The humanitarian community have consistently warned us that shorter mandate renewals force UN agencies and NGOs to direct much of their effort to contingency planning. That uncertainty limits their capacity to help those in need. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate with 15.3 million Syrians now in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
Second, with humanitarian needs growing each year, the Assad regime continues to profit from the production and trafficking of narcotics, most prominently captagon – which provides billions of dollars annually to the regime. Turning the country into a ‘narco-state’ harms the people of Syria and adds to regional instability. We urge partners in the international community to condemn this clearly and to continue supporting those affected by the captagon trade.
Third, we applaud Special Envoy Pedersen’s efforts to continue engagement with Damascus, as well as countries in the region and beyond. The UK stands ready to support a political process in line with resolution 2254. We must guard against any process that does not deliver on the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and which will not contribute to a lasting and sustainable peace.
We have heard from Russia that they were taking steps to renew the Constitutional Committee. But we have seen no progress. We urge Russia to stop stalling what ought to be a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process. It is time to move away from discussions of process for the Constitutional Committee and begin to tackle substance.
President, it has been seven years since this Council unanimously adopted resolution 2254. The principles set out in that resolution remain the only means for achieving a sustainable solution to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria.