Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a Side Event on The Impact and Implementation of Resolution 2664

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 24, 2023


Thank you. Thank you so much. Good morning to everyone. I want to thank you for being here so early this morning. And it’s interesting, as I was hearing this described as a side event – this is more than a side event for those of us who are here in the room. This is probably one of the most important events that we’re engaged in here at the United Nations. What we accomplished was so extraordinary. And so I’m going away from my points. This may already be in here, so if you hear me say it again, it’s worthy of being said again because of how historic it was to get this resolution through.

I want to thank Assistant Secretary-General Msuya, and ICRC president, and Concern for your participation today and for your unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of the world’s most vulnerable.

And I want to thank my colleague from Ireland, not only for co-hosting today’s event with me, but for your partnership on this critical issue. President Biden said during his recent trip to Ireland, “Working together, Ireland and the United States helped change the way UN sanctions are implemented, to ensure they do not hamper humanitarian efforts. The new humanitarian carveout will make sanctions more effective and save lives.”

And that is why we are gathered here today during Protection of Civilians Week. Because when we work together, we can save lives. We can help facilitate the work of humanitarian agencies around the world. And we can strengthen the effectiveness of UN sanctions. We know we can do this because we’ve done it.

In passing UN Security Council Resolution 2664, we heeded the call of our humanitarian partners, who have been advocating for a safe pathway through UN sanction regimes for over a decade. At a time when global humanitarian needs are at their highest, we were proud to alleviate what our partners saw as an obstacle to their work. But while the passage of the resolution was historic, we cannot rest until it is fully implemented.

Last December, the United States became the first country to apply Resolution 2664 to our UN-based sanctions programs and many of our autonomous sanctions programs. The U.S. Department of the Treasury took further steps to enable the flow of legitimate humanitarian assistance. These efforts will support the essential needs of vulnerable populations around the world, while continuing to deny resources to malicious actors.

We are encouraged that many of our partners are working to implement Resolution 2664. And we urge all Member States to fully implement this resolution as soon as possible. We also encourage all Member States to apply such carveouts to their own autonomous regimes outside the UN context to ensure a holistic approach. And we ask that our humanitarian partners work with us and brief us on the progress of implementation.

I also want to use this opportunity to send an unequivocal message to the private sector, including financial institutions involved in the humanitarian delivery chain: We need to ensure the actors covered under this resolution don’t experience barriers related to de-risking. If there are any clarifications we need to make to this end, the lines of communication are open.

And I also want to make sure, once again, that the resolution is not a “blank check.” Humanitarian organizations must continue to guard against the diversion and misuse of humanitarian aid. Any abuses must be reported and addressed according to applicable legal requirements.

Finally, I want to stress that sanctions remain an important tool in our collective arsenal. Sanctions can help us constrain bad actors, including terrorists and human rights abusers, without resorting to violence. We believe this resolution strengthens the effectiveness of sanctions. And the United States will continue to employ these tools to advance peace and security.

Again, thank you all for being here today. Now I will turn the floor back over to my esteemed colleague and friend, Ambassador Fergal Mythen. Ambassador, the floor is yours.