Remarks by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield at the UN Security Council Stakeout Following Votes on Resolutions to Reauthorize the UN Cross-Border Mechanism into Syria
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 11, 2023
Thank you all very much for being here and I apologize for the delay. You just heard the pen holders. Moments ago, Russia vetoed the compromise resolution that the penholders put forward. And the discussion I was just in, just now was a discussion about how intense the penholders worked – you heard from them – to try to find a compromise. Where we are right now is that trucks are not crossing the border at Bab-al-Hawa – they have been stopped. So, needed humanitarian assistance is not getting to the people.
That resolution would have extended this critical humanitarian lifeline and would have ensured aid will continue to reach the Syrian people during the cold winter months. Right now, the resolution stops in January – in the middle of the winter.
And now, Russia is going to have to explain their veto. They’re going to have explain that veto to the General Assembly. They said to us in the Council today that they were forced to veto – they chose to veto. They were given practically everything that they wanted and as I said in the Council, their attitude was our way or the highway. And we heard the Russian PR say that – it’s our resolution, what have we put on the table, or all of this is over. And that’s exactly what they did.
They’re going to have to defend the undefendable. And after vetoing the penholders resolutions, their resolution was really a cynical effort to thwart all of our efforts.
We simply could not support this insufficient resolution – not when the needs of the Syrian people have been so much more acute.
And I want to be clear: Russia owns this failure. This is not our failure; this is their failure. And it is up to them to right the wrong that they committed today; to come back to the table in good faith. We will continue to work with all the members of the Council. We will continue to do everything possible to get needed humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, but I believe we have to act urgently – lives really hang in the balance. And I know that people are hanging and waiting to see what this Council does over the course of the next few days. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Ambassador, should the Council vote on a six-month technical roll over and when?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think we’re going to have to wait to see what the penholders put forward. We have done that previously, as I said, we will work with all of the Council members to find a way forward so that we can continue to provide humanitarian assistance.
QUESTION: Ambassador, the Russians made it clear that they weren’t interested in a technical rollover. What other options do you have available to you?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Again, we’re going to work with the penholders. The Russians have been bullies on this. The Syrian people want this assistance. I think the Assad regime wants this assistance, and they’re going to have to standup and call for it. We certainly have heard from the humanitarian community, from the UN, that this is a needed lifeline for the Syrian people so we will continue to work with other Council members to find a way forward.