Iran welcomes Syria's decision on Bab al-Hawa crossing point: Envoy

Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Amir Saeid Iravani has said that his country warmly welcomes a decision by Syria to grant permission to the United Nations and sincerely hope that UN and its relevant Specialized Agencies would utilize the Bab al-Hawa crossing point for delivering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian civilian population in need in the northwest region of that country.

"The continued imposition of unilateral sanctions poses a significant obstacle to improving Syria's humanitarian and economic situation," Iravani said addressing a session on 'Strengthening the United Nations system - Item 124 Debate pursuant to resolution 76/262'  Before the United Nations General Assembly New York on Wednesday.

The full text of Iravani's speech is as follows: 

Mr. President,

The Islamic Republic of Iran aligns itself with the statement delivered by the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations.  Mr. President,

Iran supports the provision of humanitarian assistance without politicization or conditions and in line with the principles of humanity, neutrality, and impartiality. The delivery of aid to those in need should not be obstructed by political considerations.

The ever-increasing humanitarian crisis in Syria, further compounded by the devastating earthquake on 6 February 2023, highlights the urgent necessity for humanitarian aid. Ensuring the delivery of impartial and non-politicized assistance to all regions of Syria is paramount for saving lives and reaching the most vulnerable individuals while avoiding any hindrance from external factors. It is crucial, however, to uphold Syria's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national unity throughout this process.

We applaud UN agencies, and humanitarian partners for their relentless efforts in helping the Syrian people and working towards alleviating their suffering. It is important to plan humanitarian aid in a way that contributes to the restoration of infrastructure, rebuilding efforts, and the strengthening of the Syrian economy. Supporting sustainable, long-term development in the Syria is crucial.

Mr. President,

The continued imposition of unilateral sanctions poses a significant obstacle to improving Syria's humanitarian and economic situation. These illegal measures have negatively impacted the economy and living standards of the people while limiting the government's capacity to deliver basic services. Given the recent earthquake in Syria, it is even more critical to lift these unjust measures.

Mr. President,

We regret that the Security Council failed to reach an agreement on the resolution for a cross-border mechanism. However, we acknowledge the sovereign decision of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, which, on July 13, 2023, announced the granting of permission for a six-month period to the United Nations and its relevant Specialized Agencies to utilize the Bab al-Hawa crossing point for delivering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian civilian population in need in the northwest region of the country. We warmly welcome this decision and sincerely hope that in providing humanitarian aid, the United Nations and its relevant agencies will address Syria's legitimate concerns. These concerns include the diversion of aid to terrorist organizations in the northwest region and the need for transparent and non-discriminatory distribution of aid.

Mr. President,

The Syrian Arab Republic has consistently emphasized that the cross-border mechanism undermines its sovereignty and territorial integrity, providing an opportunity for terrorist groups to exploit humanitarian aid for their own interests. The situation raises legitimate concerns about Western intentions, that they may seek to divide Syria and establish a self-governing region led by terrorists in the northwest. The continued support for this border crossing through humanitarian aid further exacerbates these worries. It is crucial for Western countries to reconsider their approach, one that fully respects Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity and avoids legitimizing terrorist groups in Idlib through humanitarian assistance. Instead of perpetuating an environment that enables these terrorist groups, who have taken hostage millions of people, to pursuit their illegal activities, Western countries should foster an environment that encourages dialogue between the Syrian government and the concerned parties. This way, the terrorists can be persuaded to lay down their weapons and put an end to foreign interference that violates Syria's territorial integrity.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

Iran reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the people and government of Syria in overcoming the threats of terrorism and foreign occupation. We stand ready to assist in rebuilding their country, ensuring its unity, and preserving its territorial integrity.

I thank you.

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