REMARKS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA
New York, 30 November 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yesterday, I briefed the Security Council, and it is a great honour for me today to appear before this Assembly for the second time, to share with you all a few thoughts about the situation in Syria.
The Secretary-General has just briefed you on the humanitarian situation in particular. The numbers he gave illustrate eloquently and also very sadly the dramatic situation now prevailing in Syria.
On the ground, however, it is now the security situation that is a major handicap for the delivery of humanitarian aid. An even greater handicap is the shortage of funding. As you just heard from the Secretary-General, the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan is only 50 per cent funded and the Regional Response Plan is only 38 per cent funded.
Military confrontations in Syria have continued, unabated. Indeed, fighting has expanded geographically to almost all parts of Syria and intensified very significantly.
Anti-Government forces have reportedly achieved gains on the ground in several areas these past few weeks. The areas of territory that they control are expanding, and at times with strategic value. The Government, however, remains confident that they will have the upper hand.
At the regional level, tension has been high for some time now along the border between Syria and Turkey. Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon are equally fearful of the consequences of events in Syria on their respective countries and people. Palestinian refugees, who number over 500,000, are also concerned that they not be dragged into the conflict raging around – and at times inside – their camps. Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have already been killed including UNRWA staff.
Developments in and close to the Israeli-Occupied Golan are also a source of worry. It seems that the Disengagement Agreement between Syria and Israel is also being affected. The potential for escalation affecting both parties and the larger region, unintentionally or otherwise, cannot be ignored.