Transcript: Remarks by Syria’s representative after Lakhdar Brahimi’s briefing at the U.N. General Assembly
Edited by Jenny Jiang
Transcript of remarks by the representative from the Syrian Arab Republic after Brahimi’s briefing at the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 30, 2012:
*Based on English translations provided by WebTV.un.org
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, I should like to give thanks to Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi for his briefing to the membership of the General Assembly in your presence, Mr. President, and the presence of the Secretary General.
On this occasion, I should, again, like to express on behalf of my government our full support to Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi’s mission. We remain prepared to cooperate with him in accordance with the agreed-upon bases which are the framework of his noble mission by which, of course, I mean the plan prepared by his predecessor, Mr. Kofi Annan – his 6-point plan and the Geneva communique.
We agree with Mr. Brahimi in that the solution to the Syrian problem must remain political – not a security solution – a comprehensive political solution among all Syrians towards a consensus for a future Syria, one driven by the will of Syrians themselves, led by Syrians themselves, without any foreign intervention and away from any attempt to implement the political agendas of this or that capitol.
It is well-known, Mr. President, that the Syrian government from the very beginning of the crisis was the first to call for dialogue. That call found no response from most – and I say most, not all – sides of the opposition. It was also not responded to from some Arab regional and international parties that sponsor the opposition and I mean most specifically the armed opposition and the terrorist groups. Those groups that have and continue to reject any peaceful settlement.
It is for that reason that we now have for some on the scene who want an Islamist state, implementing what they call Sharia, of course, being very far indeed from the benevolent rules of Islam. Others want to change the regime at any cost. Others yet want the bloodshed to continue because they are called upon to do that – the objective being constant instability in the country, undermining the credibility of the government – the Syrian government, and pushing things towards an armed confrontation – a confrontation aimed at a paralysis of the economic, cultural, and social life in Syria.
My government, throughout the crisis, has responded to every sincere initiative, whether Arab, regional, or international. We have responded to every initiative aimed at helping to find a peaceful solution based on a national dialogue among Syrians – one that rejects seeking strength from outside the country – any initiative preserving Syria’s sovereignty, sparing Syrian blood, and the unity of Syria as well as its future.
Proceeding from that principled position – and despite the fact that the leadership in Syria is convinced that there is no good will in some Arab regional and international parties that are pushing for an escalation of the Syrian crisis, that are feeding the fire of the crisis, that are attempting to perpetuate it through aborting every attempt at dialogue by insisting a situation of instability that would justify a foreign intervention – despite all that, Syria has cooperated with the observer mission.
And you may remember the scandal in the Security Council at the time in the presence of the Secretary General of the League of Arab States and the Foreign Minister of Qatar and in the absence of the Sudanese General [Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa] al-Dabi, who was then at the head of the observer mission in Syria, who was pushed away from attending the session of the Security Council.
Nevertheless, despite all of the above, Syria has cooperated with the observer mission, with Mr. Kofi Annan’s mission, with UNSMIS [United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria], and welcomed the 6-point plan as well as the Geneva Declaration.
All these positive steps came faced with continuing rejection by the armed groups and the countries that arm, harbor them, and sponsor them in their capitols – indeed, encouraged them to perpetuate terrorist acts across international borders between those countries and Syria.
Declarations made by some officials from those countries, they have shown incontrovertibly which countries, which parties, have acted to abort all such attempts and what their true intentions are – intentions that they certainly do not shirk from declaring openly to the media. And I would refer you to the statement by Mr. Brahimi yesterday, repeated here today, that some states in the region have openly declared their enmity with the Syrian government.
Mr. President, we now have yet another opportunity to put an end to the crisis in Syria as stated by the Special Joint Envoy that necessarily goes through Mr. Brahimi’s mission. The Syrian government welcomed his appointment and stated its full preparedness to cooperate and work with him to ensure success of his mission.
This, in addition to a fact that cannot be ignored, which is that the success of any international effort requires in addition to the support of the Syrian government, requires compelling those states that support armed groups in my country to commit to an end of arming, financing, training, and harboring armed terrorist groups, to cease inciting them to reject dialogue, to cease encouraging violence and terrorism.
How can we understand that some states in the Security Council – 6 times – have stopped the Security Council from issuing even press statements condemning terrorists bombings that killed many Syrian civilians whereas the Secretary General of the United Nations himself strongly condemned such bombings?
How can you hamper even the issuance of the press statement to condemn terrorist bombings that have killed so many Syrian civilians when, as I said, the Secretary General himself condemned such bombings in the strongest terms? And we thank him for that.
One delegation in the Security Council, justifying their rejection of the press statement condemning the Jaramana yesterday, said that he had no information.
We can only interpret such behavior as support of terrorism, as encouraging violence, and we would challenge anyone to give us a different, convincing interpretation of such behavior that is in contradiction with all international norms on combatting terrorism.
Yes, Mr. President, the solution is political par excellence, consensual by definition, and must involve all Syrians, and be owned by Syrians.
The solution cannot be based on suspicious conferences hosted in this capitol or that in an attempt – or flagrant attempt – to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs. I’m speaking of capitols that are directly implicated in shedding Syrian blood.
Otherwise, Mr. President, otherwise how are we to explain the fact that well-known newspapers – the New York Times and the Washington Post – only yesterday published an article stating that the state of Qatar has provided Stinger U.S. anti-aircraft missiles to the opposition? How can we otherwise interpret that when two weeks ago, opposition groups have threatened to bring down civilian aircrafts over Syria or to attack diplomatic missions?
Yesterday and today UNDOF personnel have been attacked. Would it not be sensible to reach the conclusion here that there are some on the ground and outside Syria that see no interest in the success of a comprehensive national dialogue?
Mr. President, it pains us that hundreds of thousands of our people have become refugees. It pains us deeply when Syria was the biggest capitol host of refugees in the world before the crisis – refugees that made up fully 12% of the people living in Syria: Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese, and others. And now, the Syrian government has repeatedly stated that we want those refugees to be able to go back to their homes and to their farms.
Indeed, some do not want to return. That is true. However, many others do want to come home. There are some preventing them from doing so.
Furthermore, there are some who wish to exaggerate the numbers of Syrian refugees. Some information has reached us that anybody crossing the Syrian border is registered as a refugee. This is not proper. There are many Syrians moving back and forth from neighboring countries who are not refugees. They travel to neighboring countries for various reasons and then they return – many of them in their private vehicles. Nevertheless, they are registered as refugees. Why? For the number of refugees to continuously escalate in order to bring political pressure to bear on the Syrian government and humanitarian pressure to bear on the refugees themselves.
Mr. President. This international community must admit that there is international terrorism occurring in Syria supported by states – states that claim to want to protect human rights in Syria but states who do not hesitate to condemn a poet to a life sentence merely because he had the temerity to write a poem condemning the Emir of his country. This is the contradiction that faces us these days.
Mr. President. Yes, there is a crisis in Syria. It is a political crisis. This political crisis must find a political solution – not a terrorist solution, not an armed solution, not a solution brought to bear through foreign intervention in Syrian affairs.
Mr. Brahimi has spoken of the need for change in Syria. The Syrian people, yes, do support such a change. However, such a change must be commensurate to the aspirations and hopes of the Syrian people themselves and not the result of foreign agendas that have no good intensions whatsoever.
We speak in this General Assembly where the Charter of the United Nations prevails. It is for that reason, we believe that sovereignty of member-states, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, respect for international law, opposing terrorism, refraining from arming armed oppositions in any country – these are basic tenets in this Charter.
From the very beginning of the crisis and to date, my government has directed 250 letters to the Secretary General, to the President of the General Assembly, to member-states, to members of the Security Council, to the chair of the committee of the CPC – all letters that are perfectly clear, that explain to all what is going on on the ground in my country.
And although we have sent 3 letters containing the names of non-Syrian terrorists – some who are members of Al Qaeda, admitted members of Al Qaeda – we are yet to retain a response from those who claim to want to combat terrorism in this international organization.
I leave all this in your hands, Mr. President, and once again, I thank you for calling on Mr. Brahimi to brief the General Assembly on his endeavors following his admissions to capitols in and outside the region. I thank you, sir.
- WebTV.un.org: Briefing by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria at the General Assembly on Nov. 30, 2012
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