Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria.

We are in the 14th year of this conflict. So let me make three broad points about the changes we need to see.

First, one year on from Syria’s readmission to the League of Arab States, we have seen no real change in the regime’s behaviour. Not on human right violations. Not on the safety of civilians. And not on creating the conditions for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of refugees. What’s more, Captagon flows have continued to increase, threatening the stability of the region. And Daesh attacks are increasing. We call on the Syrian regime to respond to the positive overtures of our Arab partners by changing its behaviour.

Second, we continue to respond to the devastating humanitarian crisis. This week, the UK and other donors met in Brussels to pledge our support to the Syrian people. The UK is proud to have committed up to $264 million in humanitarian assistance this year, bringing our total funding to over $5 billion since the crisis began. This aid will be delivered to communities across Syria, and includes $43.7 million for early recovery. We are stepping up our humanitarian funding and we call on others to do the same.

We also call on the regime to grant cross-border access for as long as is required, based on humanitarian needs. We note the renewal of permissions earlier this month for aid to cross through two border points. However, as others have said, these short-term and last-minute extensions by the regime mean access is still unpredictable. Since needs are higher than ever in Syria, humanitarians need to be able to reach people in a predictable, principled and cost-effective way. The three remaining UN border crossing points are a critical lifeline, and humanitarian agencies need safe access to reach populations in need.

Finally, President, the only long-term solution to ending this conflict is through the UN-led political process based on resolution 2254. We reiterate our support to your efforts, Special Envoy, and we call on the parties to cooperate fully towards delivering a lasting political settlement in Syria.

Published 30 May 2024