Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Syria
Merci Monsieur le Président,
many thanks to Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson and High Commissioner Guterres for their briefings.
I wish to thank the French Presidency for its initiative to call for today’s meeting. It comes at a very important moment.
The Syrian people require our urgent support. We have heard again today that the humanitarian situation is dramatic and worsening by the day.
We are grateful and we commend the governments and the people of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq for their crucial support provided to Syrian families fleeing from the brutal violence of the Assad regime and its militias.
My government, as part of the international efforts, provides substantial financial support for relief efforts undertaken by UN agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross both within Syria and in neighboring states and I assure you it will continue to do so.
An improvement of the humanitarian access inside Syria is essential in order to help the people in need. We therefore call upon all parties to facilitate humanitarian access in all parts of Syria .
The humanitarian situation will not improve unless the Syrian people can live free from fear. The continuing attacks against civilians and the massive human rights violations by the Assad regime must stop.
The use of heavy weapons, helicopter gunships and fighter planes show the extreme brutality that Damascus employs against the Syrian people.
Today’s meeting also comes only a few days following reports of yet another massacre committed by the regime and its militias against civilians, including women and children.
Accountability for such crimes must be ensured. The Independent Commission of Inquiry has provided important findings, and it has compiled a list of those deemed responsible. This provides a solid base for possible follow-up action, including the International Criminal Court.
We also call on the opposition to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians. More leadership and dedication is required. The publication of a Code of Conduct of the Free Syrian Army is a first step in the right direction. Humanitarian law applies to all sides.
My government will continue to work towards a political solution of the crisis. This includes a political transition toward a democratic and tolerant Syria - a Syria that embraces all Syrians and ensures their human rights, irrespective of their origin or religion.
The United Nations continue to play a central role in supporting the Syrian people in finding a political settlement and in embarking on a democratic transition. The same is true for the Arab League, which has from the start played an active and constructive role.
I want to assure Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi of Germany ’s full support for his challenging new task.
We are also engaging closely with the opposition – both bilaterally and within the Friends of Syria Group - to prepare the ground for the post-Assad Syria. It is in the interest of all of us to avoid a total breakdown of Syria , which would also pose a serious threat to regional stability.
Our position is clear: There can be no future for President Assad in a new Syria. We call on President Assad to step aside to avoid further bloodshed.
The chemical weapons stocks in Syria pose a serious threat. The use of chemical weapons would be a disastrous escalation of the situation with unpredictable consequences for Syria and the entire region. We urge Syria to abide strictly by its obligation, under international law, not to use chemical weapons under any circumstances. We also call upon Syria to guarantee the secure and safe storage of these weapons of mass destruction.
I thank you, Mr. President.