The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 28 November 2023.
Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Syria.
Thank you, President. I thank Ms Rochdi and Ms Wosornu for their briefings. Now more than ever, the international community needs to ensure that our attention remains on Syria, and that we act together to improve the situation for the Syrian people. Today I want to highlight three areas requiring immediate attention.
First, we urgently need regional de-escalation. After more than 13 years of conflict, violence in Syria is at its highest level in more than three years. We condemn the Syrian regime’s sustained attacks in northwest Syria. We are also gravely concerned by the spate of attacks in the northeast by Iran-affiliated militias against the Global Coalition Against Daesh. Reports that Iran started to use Latakia airbase for weapons shipments are alarming.
It is essential that the Global Coalition continues its operations against Daesh to ensure we do not see a resurgence. We urge Iran to roll back its militias and we call on the regime and its Russian backers to prioritise stability and prosperity in Syria.
Second, we should remain committed to ensuring sustainable, predictable and efficient aid flows across the whole of Syria. Increasing hostilities mean increasing need for the reliable provision of humanitarian aid. This highlights the importance of the cross-border operation which is a lifeline for 4.1 million people.
It is positive that the Bab Al Salam and Al Rai agreements were extended on 14 November, but the situation on the ground means that short term, last minute agreements are not sufficient. As the UN has made clear, we need these agreements for as long as humanitarian needs demand, including for the Bab al-Hawa crossing which is set to expire on 13 January 2024, the height of winter.
Third, the worsening situation in Syria should remind us all of the need for a viable political process. Until the regime and its backers engage seriously and meaningfully in a political process, the UK will not engage with the regime. We reiterate our wholehearted support for a UN-facilitated settlement in accordance with resolution 2254 as the way to end the conflict.