By Holy See Mission
Statement of H.E. Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, on the adoption of the Resolution “The Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic” Agenda item 33 “Prevention of armed conflict” Mr President, Upon the adoption by this General Assembly of the Resolution 67/262 on “The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic”, my delegation wishes once again to express the grave concern with which the Holy See has been following the unceasing spiral of violence by which Syria has been overwhelmed for more than two years now, by recalling the words expressed by Pope Francis during the Urbi et Orbi message of Easter Sunday: How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found? With the parties still engaged in combat, it is a priority that those in a position to exercise influence over the parties to the conflict call upon them to halt immediately the blood-bath and the continual violations of human rights that only open the door to further retaliation and recrimination. If we wish to reconstitute a peaceable society and avoid the abandonment of the Syrian people to a violent and uncertain future, a clear change of course is needed. It is to be hoped that the outcome of today’s discussion will constitute a step leading to the Syrian-led political dialogue which is called for by all parties, but which still seems to be all too far away. Only through the involvement of all political parties and the various components of civil society, including representatives of the various religious groups that constitute the beautiful and ancient mosaic of the Syrian landscape, can we aspire to provide solutions and to offer hope for the reconstruction of the social fabric and of state institutions for a rebuilt Syria. This rebuilding must be based on the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and good governance of public affairs, together with respect for the diverse ethnic and religious identities. Mr. President, The sad statistics of the humanitarian catastrophe enveloping Syria are well known. Only a few weeks ago, the heads of the major UN humanitarian agencies briefed the Security Council in this regard. Thus, an appeal to the international community to act in favour, financially even, of these agencies and of those countries which commendably are welcoming those who flee from the fighting, seems to my delegation to be of particular urgency. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the consequences of a collapse of the most fragile of these countries would be such as to constitute an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with the most severe repercussions for the entire international community. What matters here are not acts of mere generosity, but acts that can generate and sustain peace, security and the common good of the entire international community. It is necessary, furthermore, that the warring parties acknowledge their own obligations with respect to international humanitarian law, guaranteeing, particularly, immediate and safe access to the most needy population, inter alia, by humanitarian aid workers. In this regard, my delegation wishes to call for the protection of health-care institutions, whether these are the object of deliberate attacks or when they suffer through indiscriminate effects of the armed violence, both when health-care workers are not guaranteed the necessary freedom and serenity to accomplish their own mission and when they are forced to contravene their own professional ethics by refusing care for all the wounded, without any distinction. Mr. President, In conclusion, the Holy See, not having interests other than the genuine hope to see an end to every act of violence against all the people of Syria - amongst whom, certainly, and of particular concern, are some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, dating back to the first century - desires that all Syrians may return once again to that peaceful and harmonious coexistence which has been the hallmark of Syrian society for centuries. In this regard, my delegation takes this opportunity to appeal for the international community’s assistance in securing the earliest release of those innocent victims of kidnapping by armed groups, including the two Metropolitan Bishops Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who still remain in the hands of their abductors. Before the judgment of history and of anyone of good will, it behoves all individuals and state or international institutions to facilitate the closure of this painful chapter of Syrian history, once and for all, and to find a lasting solution worthy of the dignity of the people of that great nation. Thank you, Mr. President.
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