Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at UN Security Council meeting on Syria

I thank Special Envoy Pedersen and Undersecretary Griffiths for their informative briefings. Your balanced and objective views have well guided us throughout the two years that we have been in the Council. I also welcome Dr Amani Ballour at todays meeting.

Estonia commends the work of OCHA, which continues to provide humanitarian aid to millions of people in Syria. As noted by Mr. Griffiths, all modalities are important in reaching the large number of internally displaced across the country. This is especially true in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing winterization efforts.

I welcome the timely publication of the 2585 reports, which among other things focused on cross-line deliveries. There have been substantial improvements, when it comes to the coordination between the relevant parties on the ground. In this regard, we remain cautiously optimistic about the potential new developments that could turn cross-line deliveries regular and reliable.

However, until then, cross-line deliveries will be unable to substitute the large-scale humanitarian response provided through the cross-border mechanism. Cross-border aid remains the backbone of the overall UN’s humanitarian response in Syria.

Maintaining stable aid flow is crucial, as the war in Syria has not ended. In the past months, one hundred civilians have been killed in clashes and attacks. I reiterate our call for a nationwide ceasefire, which is a precondition for a peaceful dialogue, based on resolution 2254. All parties must adhere to international law; and provide safe, sustained, and unimpeded humanitarian access to all Syrian people.

Mr. President – last month, Estonia organized an Arria-formula meeting, where UN-mandated investigative mechanism IIIM and Syrian civil society representatives gave a detailed overview on the question of accountability in Syria. These kind of meetings do not stop atrocities in Syria. However, they do provide us with relevant information for taking action against impunity in the future.

There will be no peace in Syria until impunity prevails. International community will never normalize its views on killings, torture, sexual violence and forced disappearances, which unfortunately continue in Syria on daily basis. I hope the next Security Council membership will be able to tackle these atrocities in a meaningful and swift way.

I thank you Mr. President.