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Amir congratulates Foreign Minister on adoption of UNSCR 2449 on aid to Syrians

Amir hopes resolution would ensure unimpeded access of aid to millions of needy people

AL-BAB: A Syrian displaced child poses inside a basement in the city of Al-Bab the northern Aleppo province on the border with Turkey. — AFP

KUWAIT/NEW YORK: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of congratulations on Friday to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah the approval of the Kuwait and Sweden-drafted UN Security Council resolution no. 2449 on cross-border aid to Syrians. In the cable, His Highness the Amir expressed his sincere congratulations over Kuwait’s successful diplomacy, along with Sweden, in handling the Syrian humanitarian file that led to the adoption of the UNSC resolution no 2449.

The resolution authorizes a one-year extension of cross-border aid deliveries to Syria. His Highness the Amir applauded the strenuous efforts made by Sheikh Sabah Khaled, the ministry’s staff as well as Kuwait’s permanent mission in New York Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi and mission’s staff during discussions and consultations as well as listening to the views of different sides that culminated in the approval of the resolution. His Highness the Amir expressed his hope that the newly adopted resolution would be implemented soon to ensure unimpeded access of humanitarian aid to millions of needy people in Syria. His Highness the Amir also stressed the necessity of doubling efforts of UN so as to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

His Highness the Amir, finally, wished every success to all Kuwaitis in order to serve the dear homeland and raise its status on different international arenas. Moreover, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled.

Kuwait welcomes resolution
Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 2449 approved on Thursday to extend for one year the mandate for delivery of aid to Syrians across the borders and conflict lines. The resolution, tabled by Kuwait and Sweden, renews the mechanism specified in the Resolution 2165, an official of the Ministry said. He thanked the Council members for backing this vital humanitarian initiative in the vote. “The State of Kuwait believes that this resolution will contribute to alleviation of the suffering of millions of Syrians trapped in the conflict,” he said, noting that the mechanism in the resolution continues to be the best shortcut to humanitarian response. The Kuwaiti diplomat also thanked the field aid workers for their life-saving efforts.

Thirteen of the 15 members of the UN Security Council had voted for the draft, sponsored by Kuwait and Sweden, with Russia and China abstaining. On behalf of the two sponsors of the Syrian humanitarian dossier, Ambassador Otaibi briefed the Council following the vote on the consultations with the main players in Syria over the last few weeks. “The consultations were very fruitful and encouraged Sweden and Kuwait to table this balanced and purely humanitarian draft,” he said.

Ambassador Otaibi thanked the representatives of the Council members for their constructive contribution and positive response to the recommendation of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutters in this regard. “The cross-border humanitarian assistance continue to be a lifeline for more than 663,000 people across Syria who cannot be supported by any other means,” he said, noting that additional 13 million Syrians are in need of aid. He also appreciated the efforts made by Mark Lowcock, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, to address the challenging situation in Syria.

Crucial step
The resolution is a crucial step towards sustained response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Otaibi said. The resolution authorizes extension, for 12 months, of the mandate for cross-border delivery of aid to the Syrians as per the mechanism specified in the Resolution 2165 of July 2014.

Speaking to the press on Friday, Ambassador Otaibi said the adoption of the resolution marks a new success for Kuwait’s humanitarian policy and leading role in the relief efforts particularly in Syria. “At the behest of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the State of Kuwait launched several humanitarian initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly people of Syria since 2013,” he said.

“Kuwait hosted the first international humanitarian pledging conference for Syria in that year and two similar conferences in the two following years,” Ambassador Otaibi recalled. “In continuation of such humanitarian initiatives, the Kuwaiti mission to the UN worked with the Swedish mission and our coordination led to the passing of the UNSC Resolution 2401 and yesterday’s resolution,” he pointed out. The Resolution 2401, unanimously adopted on February 24, 2018, calls for a ceasefire across Syria for 30 days. The Resolution 2449 was passed by 13 UNSC members, and it authorizes the UN aid agencies and their partners to use routes across conflict lines and the border crossings of Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha, in addition to those already in use, in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance, including medical and surgical supplies, reaches people in need throughout Syria through the most direct routes. It allows, with the consent of the relevant neighboring countries of Syria, the loading of all humanitarian relief consignments at the relevant UN facilities, Ambassador Otaibi added.

Millions in need
Adopting the resolution is quite necessary to ensure arrival of the humanitarian supplies at locations of millions in need in Syria, Ambassador Otaibi said during a UNSG session during which the voting was held. He also noted that with this move, the international community re-asserted necessity of distributing the supplies rapidly and without any obstacles.

Otaibi regretted that this year witnessed continuity of the strife in Syria, remaining a threat to regional and international peace and security, “amid the Security Council inability to resolve the crisis.” Recent escalation of violence in Deir Ezzor, Idlib and Aleppo proved that security in the country remained fragile and might deteriorate further, particularly in Idlib, populated by three million people, warned the senior Kuwaiti envoy, who also noted in this respect necessity of maintaining the Turkish-Russian accord to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib.

Parties of the strife must honor their obligations toward international humanitarian rights’ laws and those who perpetrated serious breaches of the human rights laws must be brought to account, the Kuwaiti representative said. Turning to the plight of the refugees and the displaced, he stated that their return to their homes must be voluntary, honorable and according to relevant international criteria. Urging the UNSG member states to act collectively, Ambassador Otaibi has warned humanitarian conditions in Syrian will continue deteriorating unless a political settlement is reached in line with UNSG Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Declaration. – KUNA

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