Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 9, 2021
Thank you, Mr. President. And let me start by expressing a deep thanks to the co-penholders for the extraordinary effort that they made to get us to this point, today. I also want to thank all of the members of the Council for your support.
Thanks to this resolution, millions of Syrians can breathe a sigh of relief tonight, knowing that vital humanitarian aid will continue to flow into Idlib through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing after tomorrow. And parents can sleep tonight knowing that for the next 12 months their children will be fed. The humanitarian agreement we’ve reached here will literally save lives. So, today’s vote is an important moment.
It’s a moment for millions of Syrians, who will not have to worry about starving to death in the coming weeks. It’s an important moment for our global recovery from COVID-19, because now vaccines can flow into Syria. It’s important that the United States and Russia were able to come together on a humanitarian initiative that serves the interests of the Syrian people. And it’s an important moment for the UN and the Security Council – which today showed we can do more than just talk. We can work together to find solutions and deliver actions on the world’s most pressing challenges.
With the reauthorization of the Syria cross-border humanitarian mechanism for the next 12 months, the UN can now get back to its important business of saving lives through the delivery of food, shelter, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. Today’s successful adoption averted a catastrophe for a population that has already suffered too much. Courageous UN frontline and NGO workers can now make their plans and secure their procurements to deliver necessary aid through this literal lifeline.
Starving children will receive food. Sick mothers will receive medicine. A people ravaged by COVID will receive vaccines. And while we had urged the Security Council to go even further, and expand the humanitarian access that is so desperately needed, today the Security Council has made a decision to save lives. So, I am thankful for our humanitarian agreement.
Today’s reauthorization will not completely fill the vast needs on the ground, but it will provide crucial relief. And we will continue working to expand all forms of access. There is more we can and there is more we should do in the weeks and months ahead.
I want to end, again, where I started and that’s by thanking the co-penholders, Ireland and Norway, for your strong leadership and responsible stewardship of this negotiation. You made this humanitarian agreement possible. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all my colleagues, whose alignment on this agreement will save countless lives.