UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING ON THE USE OF THE VETO IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON 8 JULY, UNDER THE AGENDA ITEM ENTITLED 'THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST'
21 July 2022
Statement by H.E. the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Mr President, colleagues, let me be clear.
The Australian Government is deeply concerned by Russia’s recent veto in the United Nations Security Council.
A veto of the draft resolution which proposed to reauthorise cross-border aid to northwest Syria for a further 12 months.
While we acknowledge the Security Council resolution adopted on 12 July reauthorises cross-border assistance for a further six months, it is highly problematic that this mandate will now expire during the Syrian winter, when aid is needed the most.
We also remain concerned about the risks to humanitarian supply lines and continuity of aid operations associated with the extension of cross-border assistance for only six months.
A further extension of this cross-border authorisation in six months’ time will be crucial in ensuring the ongoing delivery of cross-border humanitarian assistance to people living in northwest Syria, including:
- food aid
- essential medicine
- and other basic humanitarian goods.
We believe the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance to those in need should not be subject to political expediency.
Over four million people depend on humanitarian aid in northwest Syria and are largely reliant on cross-border assistance to meet their basic needs.
In 2014, Australia co-authored the initial resolution 2165 (2014) authorising cross-border humanitarian assistance during our term on the Security Council, providing a lifeline to millions of Syrians via UN-led cross-border activities since.
And this support remains as critical as ever.
And since 2011, Australia has responded to the crisis in Syria with over A$500 million in humanitarian funding, providing immediate lifesaving support and protection to vulnerable people in Syria, and Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Mr President, colleagues, the conflict in Syria remains one of the worst humanitarian crises facing the world today, with over 14.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Let me say that again, 14.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
We need to stay on the job.