Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Syria (Idlib)
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Middle East, Syria and the situation in Idlib, 7 September 2018, New York.
I think it has been clearly stated how Idlib is different from Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and Daraa, because there is nowhere left to flee for the people there, the size of the population, three million as mentioned, many children and IDPs. It has been stressed about the catastrophic consequences of a full-scale military escalation not least by our briefers this morning, John Ging and Staffan De Mistura. Many have stressed how deep the concern is about the escalating military action that we are already seeing by Syria and by Russia. And they have been reminded, as well as other parties, of their obligations to protect civilians, in accordance with international humanitarian law. Theirs’ is the main responsibility to prevent further humanitarian disaster.
It has also been stressed around the table how important it is that the Astana guarantors, who are meeting at the highest level today, immediately implement their own de-escalation agreement in Idlib and prioritise the protection of civilians. Many have said, and I want to reiterate that, the urgency of them to act now to avoid the enormous humanitarian catastrophe that would unfold before our eyes in case of a large-scale military offensive in Idlib.
So while it is clear where the responsibilities lie, it is also for this Council to continue to explore all meaningful and preventative options. We have therefore advocated for this meeting in order for the Council to prevent this scenario, and to express our support to Staffan and to OCHA, and to push for a solution. We hope public clear calls around this table today, and by the elected 10 members earlier this week, by the EU members yesterday, will have the desired effect.
But Madam President, we are also prepared to sit down in closed consultations with Staffan de Mistura in order to explore any concrete meaningful suggestions and proposals, today, over the weekend, or whenever if need be, to ensure that the Council also collectively shoulders its responsibility, and that we explore and fully exhaust all preventative actions.
I thank you.