Statement by Ambassador Yuri Gala López, Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the UN, at the UNGA plenary meeting on the veto under the Security Council item “The situation in the Middle East”.

New York, July 19th, 2023.

Mr. President:

We endorse Venezuela’s statement on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations.

Following the adoption of Resolution A/RES/76/262, entitled “Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council”, our delegation registered its concerns and interpretations of the text, which was not thoroughly discussed in due course, nor with sufficient time.

Under the umbrella of said resolution, we are meeting today for the second time in less than a year to discuss on Syria.

The shortcomings of the automatic mechanism set out by Resolution 76/262, which provides no leeway for Member States to decide whether or not a meeting of the General Assembly is necessary, are confirmed.

It is unfortunate that, in the Security Council, instead of addressing the concerns of non-members States of the body, especially on issues of direct concern to them, taking action on draft resolutions continues to be forced when there are still significant differences as to their content and scope.

We reject any politicization of humanitarian assistance and its use as an instrument for political blackmail. We reaffirm the full validity of the guiding principles of humanitarian assistance set out in General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The consent of the country concerned is essential.

The key responsibility to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches all Syrians rests with their government, so any decision taken by the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria must take into account all of the Syrian government’s concerns regarding assistance; as well as the genuine interests and aspirations of its people. Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be fully respected.

Mr. President:

The United States, which claims to be very concerned about the humanitarian situation of the Syrian people, promotes a punitive approach against Syria in international organizations, based on manipulation, selectivity and political bias, while maintaining criminal unilateral coercive measures against that country. The impact of such measures is deepening in the face of the consequences of more than ten years of war imposed against Syria, in addition to the socio-economic and humanitarian effects of multiple global crises, exacerbated in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If the United States were truly concerned about the Syrian people, it would urgently eliminate the unilateral coercive measures that impose enormous suffering on that sister Arab nation, hamper its sustainable development and, in the current context, also hinder the response to the effects of the devastating earthquake that struck Syrian territory earlier this year. Likewise, it should withdraw from the Syrian territory it now illegally occupies, where it plunders its natural resources.

We recall that today’s debate takes place less than a month after the imposition of a new politically-motivated platform against Syria within the framework of the United Nations, based on the manipulation of the noble humanitarian mantle. International mechanisms against this country are multiplying, which we strongly reject. We warn of the danger of similar initiatives being replicated in the future against other developing countries.

The decision of the Syrian Government to allow the United Nations and its specialized agencies to use the Bab al-Hawa crossing for the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in need in northwestern Syria for a period of 6 months, beginning July 13, in full cooperation and coordination with the Government, should be respected.

We reaffirm our unequivocal support for the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria, with strict compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and International law. We have full confidence in the ability of the Syrian people and authorities to achieve that goal. The international community has the moral responsibility to contribute to this, through cooperation with the Syrian authorities, without external interference, conditioning or politicization.

Thank you