Joint Statement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, State of Qatar,
Turkey, and the United Arab of Emirates
We welcome the letter from the Permanent Representatives of Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, the Netherlands and Togo in which they request on behalf of 74 Member States, the holding of a formal Plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the situation in Syria, under agenda item 31.
The letter to the President of the General Assembly is commendable, and indeed we believe that the General Assembly has responsibilities that should be exercised with regards to the maintenance of international peace and security.
However, we, the undersigned, having carefully considered the initiative, decided not to sign the letter. The ongoing bloodshed in Syria and horrific humanitarian situation in Aleppo warrants a call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to make recommendations on matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to because of a lack of unanimity.
An emergency special session highlights a particular emergency or crisis that should not be treated as if it were “business as usual”, but as a particularly alarming or dangerous situation which merits separate treatment by the General Assembly. In our view, this is undoubtedly the case in Syria, particularly in the besieged region of Aleppo.
Over the past few weeks we have witnessed an intense unleashing of military aggression in Aleppo and the surrounding area with truly devastating consequences for civilians. Reports indicate that hundreds of civilians have been killed, injured or otherwise affected by the relentless attacks on eastern Aleppo. There are no functional hospitals left in eastern Aleppo able to treat those who have escaped death.
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator has recently reported that nearly one million Syrians are living under siege. Civilians are being isolated, starved, bombed and denied medical attention and humanitarian assistance. He has described this as a deliberate tactic of cruelty to compound a people’s suffering for political, military and in some cases economic gain, to destroy and defeat a civilian population who cannot fight back. Furthermore, attacks on civilian infrastructure, most notably hospitals and schools, have become commonplace. Such attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and according to the UN Secretary-General, may amount to war crimes.
Taking into account these horrific circumstances, we strongly believe that the call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly is justified and required. We owe it to the people of Syria.
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