General Assembly: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on the Humanitarian Situation in Syria

Feb 25, 2014

(as delivered:)
"Mr President,

I thank the President of the General Assembly for heeding our call by convening today’s meeting. Many thanks also to the distinguished speakers.

I wish to align myself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.

We applaud Australia, Luxemburg and Jordan for having initiated Security Council resolution 2139. Its unanimous adoption sends a strong message. But support in the Council is not enough. What is needed now is compliance with the resolution on the ground. All parties to the conflict, especially the Syrian authorities, must allow for rapid, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, to every man, woman and child in need. This must include humanitarian access across conflict lines and across borders.

To be clear: the deliberate denial of humanitarian access constitutes a war crime. The same applies to the use of sieges of populated areas and to starvation as a method of warfare.

These crimes must end. Those responsible must be held accountable. We have repeatedly called for the situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Mr. President,

We commend the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi. Germany remains committed to a political solution and we continue to believe that only through a political solution it will be possible to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

But we must not allow the Syrian regime to use the Geneva II process as a cover to continue its repression of the Syrian people. Real, tangible results on the ground are required.

It is hard to believe that a regime is committed to peace, while it continues to drop barrel bombs and cluster munition on villages and towns throughout Syria.

While the opposition has shown a great sense of responsibility in Geneva, Damascus has shown no sign of constructive behaviour.

Mr. President,

We do hope that Resolution 2139 will contribute to a reduction of violence and to improving the reach of humanitarian assistance which the Syrian people so urgently need.

The resolution sets out clear benchmarks, these must be taken seriously.

We call on all parties, in particular on those countries still lending their support to the regime in Damascus, to use all their influence to ensure full compliance with Resolution 2139.

Only through a reduction of violence and an improvement of the humanitarian access will it be possible to create the conditions needed to reach a political solution.

I thank you"

© GermanyUN