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Predictable aid access is essential to ensure the Syrian people have their basic needs met: UK statement at the Security Council

Thank you to Special Envoy Pedersen, Ms Mudawi and to Ms Aveline for your informative briefings.

It is clear from the Special Envoy’s remarks, the last month has seen significant developments in Syria. So, now is the time to redouble our efforts for an inclusive and accountable end to the conflict so that Syrians enjoy peace, so Syria no longer exports instability to the region and refugees can return in safety and with dignity. Security Council resolution 2254 provides the framework to deliver sustainable and lasting peace for the people of Syria.

Last week, the UN and international community came together to focus on the protection of civilians. This includes 15.1 million people in need because of the impact of 12 years of war, including 4.1 million people in North West Syria who faced a crisis on top of a crisis when the devastating earthquake hit in February.

We welcome the extension of access to Bab Al Salam and Al Rai earlier this month, and we applaud the UN’s efforts there. But last minute agreements for short-term periods are not workable. As the Secretary-General has said, and the Special Envoy reminded us today, humanitarians need to plan effectively, with predictable access, in order to deliver the indispensable, as Ms Mudawi said, “the indispensable humanitarian” [assistance] to people who are, as she said, “in life and death need.”

So, the extension of the Council’s mandate for Bab Al Hawa for at least 12 months, as all three of our briefers have said today, is critical. But the people of Syria deserve more than that. They deserve answers on the whereabouts of their loved ones who have been detained and or are missing. As the Special Envoy said, this is a core issue that affects all Syrians, on all sides of the conflict. Progress on this issue is essential for rebuilding trust with the Syrian people, and putting in place the conditions needed for refugees to choose to go home.

We also need effective action to stem the illegal captagon trade, to demonstrate that regional stability comes above the billion-dollar income the regime currently derives from it.

Colleagues, for a stable region, we need a sustainable end to this conflict. Security Council resolution 2254 is the framework to deliver that lasting peace for the people of Syria.

We call on the Syrian regime to meaningfully engage in this process.

Thank you.

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