Remarks at a UN Security Council Press Stakeout on Syrian Humanitarian Cross-Border Mandate Renewal

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 10, 2020


Three months ago, Belgium, Germany, and Kuwait launched an effort in this Council to renew Resolution 2449 in light of what we were hearing consistently from OCHA, civil society organizations on the ground, and Syrians themselves:  the humanitarian crisis in Syria remains dire, and people across Syria are desperate for the help that the United Nations was created to provide.

In light of these urgent needs, the United States approached this issue with reasonable recommendations – that the Council renew all four crossings currently authorized and add a fifth crossing at Tel Abyad in northeast Syria.  Despite those needs, and the obvious path toward addressing them, the Security Council could only agree on a resolution that is grossly inadequate to the needs of the Syrian people.  Syrians will suffer needlessly as a result of this resolution.  Syrians will die as a result of this resolution.

I want to very clear about who must bear responsibility for this outcome.  It is the Russian Federation that brought us to this point.  It is the Russian Federation that vetoed a compromise proposal on December 20th, and has since worked tirelessly to divide the Council.  The only reasonable conclusion to draw from these actions is that the Russians actively, triumphantly, support the Assad regime to starve its opposition.

The United States abstained on this resolution because it is the only path available at present to sustain a minimal flow of aid to those in need.  We do so with disgust and dismay.  However, the U.S. will not abandon its principles, its responsibilities, or its enduring concern for the well-being of the Syrian people.  While the Russian Federation cannot abandon what it does not possess, they should nonetheless feel the full weight of international condemnation for the appalling actions.

I now want to speak directly to the Syrian people:  Not today, not tomorrow, and not as long as Donald Trump is in the White House and I am the United States Ambassador to the United Nations will the United States cease fighting for your safety, your dignity, and your freedom.  We will not tire in our efforts to secure the aid you need. And we will not cease to be your voice in this chamber when others would silence it without a second thought.