27 September 2023
I thank Special Envoy Pedersen and Ms. Wosornu for their briefings.
We value the perspective brought by Ms. Jarbawi, a glimpse of the painful and hurting reality that is the everyday life in Syria.
After more than a decade, Syria remains a security nightmare, a humanitarian catastrophe, an economic abyss, a financial ruin, a geopolitical mess, a most bleak prospect.
Since out last meeting, the overall situation has not improved and progress is nowhere to be seen.
The reality continues to be marked by persisting instability, political stalemate, continued atrocities, human suffering and grief, but also by the persistence of the regime to cling at all costs to power. The very same leadership that initiated what became a tragedy for an entire nation, which stands as a major impediment to change by systematically undermining the political process as foreseen in Resolution 2254.
The humanitarian situation needs no further description. Albania has repeatedly called for aid delivery to be based on UN principles, including monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and for humanitarian access authorizations not to be politicized. An absurd veto has terminated the Council authorization for cross border delivery in the NorthWest of the country adding insecurity to unpredictability.
Humanitarian needs will not stop on the 31st of December. But any future renewal of Bab-al-Hawa use will be conditional to the mood in Damascus. When we know what they have been capable of, otherwise, the worst – we, and those dependent of it – have reason to remain utterly worried.
Keeping this in mind, we supported the efforts of OCHA for the continuation of life-saving humanitarian deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa crossing. The recent resumption of those deliveries is welcome.
We continue nonetheless to believe that a product of the Security Council is needed in order to provide in a predictable and sustainable manner the delivery of the humanitarian aid by the UN and its international partners.
We support the efforts of the Special Envoy and his approach to bring the political process back on track based on Resolution 2254. We consider it the window to the future, the key to unlock the path to sustainable peace, a viable exit out of this never-ending conflict which goes through a functioning and active constitutional committee.
Peace and stability in Syria will not come if all stakeholders do not come together, and act genuinely and in unison, under the UN guidance, to secure a nationwide ceasefire, advance the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, and create the conditions necessary for the voluntary and safe return of refugees, in dignity.
Albania remains deeply worried about the continued arbitrary arrests and detention by government forces, torture and ill-treatment, as well as about the whereabouts of more than 130 thousand Syrians missing as a result of systematic enforced disappearance.
We fully supported the establishment, last June, of an independent institution to clarify the fate and whereabouts of all missing persons. This issue affects millions of Syrian victims, survivors, and families who are seeking to clarify the fate and whereabouts of their missing loved ones. For as long as there will be no closure, it will remain an obstacle to peace.
Despite the propaganda of the regime, people in Syria are unhappy and remain without perspective. There is a huge gap between the regime’s rhetoric and the ordinary people living in the fear of an insecure tomorrow, while trying to survive in an economic abyss.
The protests in southern Syria are a waking call for the urgent need for political change. Let’s not forget that 13 years ago, peaceful protests which were met with brutality by the regime, led to conflict, civil war and to the situation the endures to this day. They are a cry for food in the table, for affordable medicine, fuel and electricity and other basic commodities, while the regime is investing in the drug production and trafficking.
Let me conclude by reminding that we should never forget that Syrians have been victims of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law on a massive and systematic scale. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, half the population has been forcefully displaced. Deep scars are everywhere.
Therefore, in order to secure a path to sustainable peace, there must be no impunity for crimes committed.
Peace in Syria will be built through sustained efforts and accountability is an integral part of it.
So many times, including today, many of us have highlighted what would happen if – if all actors in Syria came together to work in good faith for their future.
We have unfortunately been left with the desolate assessment of what Syria is and would further become because of the stalemate, otherwise – as Special Envoy Pedersen put it, – if there is no shift in the mindset.
Both aspects are clear and a clear choice needs to be made.
By the Syrians, first.
We reiterate our unwavering support for the just quest of Syrians for a better future by re-building a decent life in freedom and dignity, for themselves, their families and their children.