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UN Security Council: Syria - NZ's Statement

UN Security Council: Syria - Explanation of vote on draft resolution put forward by France and Spain
As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 8 October 2016

Thank you for giving me the floor Mr President.

The situation in Aleppo is devastating, as Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura made very clear to us yesterday. He warned us we face a situation not dissimilar to those in Rwanda and Srebrenica, atrocities this Council signally failed to prevent. We must learn our lessons. We must stop the destruction of the entire city of eastern Aleppo.

Terrorism is a scourge to the world, but it is not acceptable that Russia and Syria use counterterrorism as a pretext for a large-scale bombing campaign for which civilians are paying the greatest price. Whatever the sins of the hundreds or thousand-plus terrorists in eastern Aleppo, that cannot justify a prolonged bombardment of 275,000 civilians.

We had hoped that the Council would have been able to come together on a text which all parties could accept and which could stand a chance of contributing to practical and constructive action on the ground.

The failure of today's resolution contributes to the polarised dynamic on Syria among the major powers and undermines the credibility of the Security Council.

Given the recent breakdown of the cessation of hostilities and the curtailing of diplomatic efforts by the United States and Russia, it is vital to use all multilateral channels, particularly this Council, to move the parties away from the killing and back towards the negotiating table and in the meantime to spare the Syrian people and allow them the humanitarian assistance they so desperately need.

The Security Council has a special responsibility. We will continue to talk with other Council members to explore what action might be possible in coming days.

I thank you.

UN Security Council: Syria - Explanation of vote on draft resolution put forward by the Russian Federation
As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 8 October 2016

Thank you Mr President.

New Zealand voted against the draft resolution submitted by the Russian Federation because of the partial and misleading nature of draft, because of Russia’s destructive role in the Syrian conflict, and because Russia provided no scope for any negotiation on a text on such a sensitive issue, an issue to which Russia is a direct party.

Action of this kind only serves to deepen the divides in the Council which are preventing constructive action from being taken.

As you earlier observed Mr President, New Zealand has been working on some ideas to try and bring this Council together on this most difficult issue. That we have not yet put our ideas forward has been our decision and our decision alone. But I invite Russia and all Council members to work with us in the coming days to see if we can chart a course in a more positive direction.

Thank you.

Reply to comments by the Permanent Representative of Syria
As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 8 October 2016

Thank you Mr President.

I’m used to the fantastical reveries of the Syrian representative, very little of what he says can be relied upon as accurate. But when he tells blatant lies about the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, I must speak up.

he record is clear, the delays in the delivery of humanitarian aid, the removal of medical equipment and the obstructions that are put in place of United Nations convoys, all the responsibility lies very much with the Syrian regime.


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