Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 7, 2020
Statement on Russian and Chinese Vetoes of a UN Security Council Resolution to Extend Cross-Border Aid in Syria
It is sadly no surprise that Russia and China look for every opportunity to support the murderous Assad regime and its campaign of brutality against the Syrian people. Once again the voices of the Syrian people, humanitarian experts, and the Secretary General calling for increased cross-border assistance to Syria have fallen on deaf Russian and Chinese ears.
It has never been clearer that Russia and China see the UN Security Council as just another tool to advance their narrow national agendas at the expense of millions of innocent Syrian women, children, and men who do not have the means to feed, shelter, or provide necessary medical care for their families.
Today, Russia and China continued their months-long effort to choke off humanitarian assistance to Syria by vetoing a Security Council resolution that would have maintained the last two remaining border crossings in northwest Syria, a lifeline to more than 2.8 million people. This resolution was already a bitter compromise, having stripped renewed authorization for a crucial third crossing point into northeast Syria.
The United States and the other responsible members of the Security Council supported this compromise resolution because the alternative is unspeakable. And yet, we have arrived at a point in the Syrian conflict when Assad’s collaborating partners have decided that any humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrian civilians is too much.
We must not look away from the realities. The UN Secretary-General, OCHA, humanitarian organizations, and faith-based groups have all reached the same conclusion. Without more humanitarian access and assistance, millions of Syrians will suffer, and untold numbers could die. And as history has shown, we cannot rely on the Assad regime to deliver it through cross-line channels. After months of Russian and Chinese efforts to restrict and diminish humanitarian relief to Syria, it is impossible to conclude that these deaths are not the intent.
The U.S. will not relent in its efforts to reach those in need in Syria. We will not restrain our outrage. We will not cede to Russian and Chinese cynicism. We will not believe or give credence to Russian and Chinese lies and misdirection about what is happening on the ground.
This must stop, and it must stop now. I ask all my UN counterparts to speak now and speak with one voice to repudiate this action and demand its reversal.