Explanation of vote by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria cross-border aid.

Ambassador Barbara Woodward speaks at UN Security Council

Colleagues, I join others in thanking Brazil and Switzerland for their work as penholders.

The Secretary-General was absolutely clear: he asked this Council to give humanitarians a 12 month mandate to deliver aid to 4.1 million people who desperately need it. The humanitarian partners who brief us regularly set out the case for this again, and again. Countries in the region too, who are directly impacted by the conflict in Syria, called for a 12 month mandate. And the partners I met on the ground, at the Syrian border, were clear: a 12 month mandate was a minimum lifeline, all the more so after February’s earthquakes.

The pens, and the majority of this Council, worked in good faith to try to deliver this.

Including an eleventh-hour compromise to try to find common ground.

But Russia has yet again used their veto to restrict lifesaving humanitarian access to 4 million Syrian people. There is no rational or moral argument to veto this resolution.

Humanitarian access should respond to humanitarian need and should not be taken hostage by Russia.

Since 2014, Russia has chipped away at this humanitarian lifeline, year after year. Today, they have continued their efforts to restrict access to people in need.

As the UK, we will continue, as we have done every year, to put our humanitarian responsibility above politics.

We call on Russia to do the same.

We need to put the needs of the Syrian people first.

Published 11 July 2023