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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Unlike Canada; Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Turkey call for UNGA emergency action on Syria

Joint Statement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, State of Qatar, 
Turkey, and the United Arab of Emirates
Saturday December, 3, 2016
We welcome the letter from the Permanent Representatives of Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, the Netherlands and Togo in which they request on behalf of 74 Member States, the holding of a formal Plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the situation in Syria, under agenda item 31. 
The letter to the President of the General Assembly is commendable, and indeed we believe that the General Assembly has responsibilities that should be exercised with regards to the maintenance of international peace and security. 
However, we, the undersigned, having carefully considered the initiative, decided not to sign the letter. The ongoing bloodshed in Syria and horrific humanitarian situation in Aleppo warrants a call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly to make recommendations on matters of international peace and security when the Security Council is unable to because of a lack of unanimity.
An emergency special session highlights a particular emergency or crisis that should not be treated as if it were “business as usual”, but as a particularly alarming or dangerous situation which merits separate treatment by the General Assembly. In our view, this is undoubtedly the case in Syria, particularly in the besieged region of Aleppo. 
Over the past few weeks we have witnessed an intense unleashing of military aggression in Aleppo and the surrounding area with truly devastating consequences for civilians. Reports indicate that hundreds of civilians have been killed, injured or otherwise affected by the relentless attacks on eastern Aleppo. There are no functional hospitals left in eastern Aleppo able to treat those who have escaped death.
The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator has recently reported that nearly one million Syrians are living under siege. Civilians are being isolated, starved, bombed and denied medical attention and humanitarian assistance. He has described this as a deliberate tactic of cruelty to compound a people’s suffering for political, military and in some cases economic gain, to destroy and defeat a civilian population who cannot fight back. Furthermore, attacks on civilian infrastructure, most notably hospitals and schools, have become commonplace. Such attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and according to the UN Secretary-General, may amount to war crimes.
Taking into account these horrific circumstances, we strongly believe that the call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly is justified and required. We owe it to the people of Syria.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Russian draft resolution on Aleppo: Truce that excludes Alnusra

Draft resolution REV nov 29 (Russian Federation)

PP1 Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2191 (2014) 2209 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2258 (2015) and 2268 (2016),

PP2 Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, 

PP3 Gravely distressed by the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Syria, and the fact that now more than 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, and that about 6.1 million people are internally displaced (in addition to the half a million Palestinian refugees who had settled in Syria), and several hundred thousand people are suffering in besieged areas,

PP4 Emphasizing that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria continues to constitute a threat to peace and security in the region, and will continue to deteriorate further in the absence of a full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities and a political solution to the crisis, and stressing in this regard that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria, 

PP4bis Taking note of the United Nations 4-point humanitarian plan for Aleppo announced on 10 November 2016,

PP5 Reaffirming its intent, expressed in its resolution 2258 (2015) to take further measures in the event of non-compliance with that resolution and resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2191 (2014),

PP6 Recalling that Member States are obligated under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to accept and carry out the Council’s decisions, 

OP1 Decides that all parties to the Syrian conflict shall cease any attacks in the city of Aleppo to allow the United Nations to implement its 4-point humanitarian plan for Aleppo in order for urgent humanitarian needs there to be addressed, including attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles, and including shelling and airstrikes, immediately upon the completion of the demand stipulated in paragraph 7 below, while reconfirming that such cessation of attacks does not apply to attacks against “Da’esh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council,  and demands that all parties allow and facilitate immediate, safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all of Aleppo by the United Nations and its implementing partners;

OP2 Demands, without prejudice to operative paragraph one of this resolution, that all parties immediately implement and ensure full implementation of the cessation of hostilities, including the call for humanitarian agencies to be provided with rapid, safe, and unhindered access throughout Syria, as described in Security Council Resolution 2268 (2016), including the Annex referred to therein; and stresses that the Cessation of Hostilities does not apply to “Da’esh”, “Jabhat al-Nusra”, or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council; 

OP2bis Demands that pursuant to the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above armed opposition groups fighting in eastern Aleppo immediately present their relevant public commitments duly signed by their leaders, and further decides that those exercising control over or influence with these groups present firm public assurances that such groups will cease all attacks by virtue of the obligations under paragraphs 1 and 2 above;

OP2ter Demands that pursuant to the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic immediately present its relevant public commitments, and further decides that those supporting the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic present firm public assurances that the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and its allied forces cease all attacks by virtue of the obligations under paragraphs 1 and 2 above;

OP3 Demands that all parties to the Syrian conflict, in particular the Syrian authorities, immediately comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable, including with respect to all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and fully and immediately implement all the provisions of Security Council resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014) 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2258 (2015) and 2268 (2016), and recalls that violations and abuses committed in Syria must not go unpunished;

OP3bis Decides that the early implementation of the United Nations 4-point humanitarian plan for Aleppo, including the compilation of lists of the sick and wounded to be evacuated, requires thorough preparatory work by the United Nations including the United Nations’ firm assurance that this plan will be expeditiously implemented once the provisions of paragraphs 1, 2, 2bis and 2ter above are met;

OP4  Strongly condemns acts of violence, attacks and threats against the wounded and sick, medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities;

OP5 Calls upon the parties to the conflict to support the UN’s and its implementing partners’ planning for, and actions to facilitate expeditiously, including through local agreements, the evacuation of the wounded and sick, the elderly, children and maternity cases from besieged and hard-to-reach areas to places of their choosing based solely on urgency and need;

OP6 Calls on Member States to prevent material and financial support from reaching individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council, and urges members of the International Syria Support Group to do their utmost to dissuade any party from fighting in collaboration with them;

OP7 Calls upon all parties to the conflict to affirm their determination to cease all collaboration with individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council, and further demands that all combatants not designated by virtue of Security Council resolutions take steps to separate expeditiously from terrorist groups designated by virtue of Security Council resolutions;

OP7bis Demands that lists of terrorist fighters to be relocated or those willing to be relocated from eastern Aleppo be compiled without delay through local arrangements as a necessary condition for the expeditious separation between combatants and terrorist groups as set out in paragraph 7 above;

OP8 Welcomes discussions between the Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group together with other Member States and the United Nations, in Lausanne on 15 October and subsequently in Geneva, and urges those involved to translate those discussions into actions that improve the humanitarian situation of the Syrian people and contribute to the full implementation of this resolution;

OP9 Calls upon all relevant Member States, in particular the members of the International Syria Support Group, to coordinate efforts in order to:
        i Ensure adequate monitoring of the cease-fire in the city of Aleppo as well as the Cessation of Hostilities throughout Syria in accordance with the procedures set out by the Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group, 
       ii Allow and facilitate immediate, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all areas, including to besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria, on the basis of needs assessed by the United Nations,
        iii Prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, 

OP10 Reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law;

OP11 Demands the full and immediate implementation of the political process outlined in Security Council Resolution 2254, and in that respect reiterates that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people in line with the Geneva Communiqué and Security Council Resolution 2254, and in this regard strongly supports the intention of the Secretary-General, through his good offices and the efforts of his Special Envoy for Syria, to convene formal negotiations as soon as possible;

OP12 Requests that the Secretary-General report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution and provide options to preserve the cessation of hostilities in the city of Aleppo within 14 days of the adoption of this resolution and subsequently within the framework of its reporting on resolution 2268 (2016), taking into account discussions held in Lausanne and Geneva;

OP13 Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Security Council welcomes electing Aoun, calls Lebanese parties to withdraw from Syria

Draft Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council  
The Security Council recalls all its previous resolutions and the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, including its statement of 22 July 2016 (S/PRST/2016/10). The Security Council reaffirms its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon, in accordance with resolutions 1701, 1680, and 1559.
The Security Council welcomes the election of the President of the Republic of Lebanon Michel Aoun in accordance with the Lebanese constitution. The election is a long-awaited and critical step to overcome Lebanon’s political and institutional crisis. The Security Council urges the new President of the Republic of Lebanon and Lebanese leaders to build on their efforts thus far by continuing to work constructively to promote the country’s stability, and by swiftly forming a government.
The Security Council stresses that the formation of a unity government and the election of a parliament by May 2017, in accordance with the Constitution, are critical for Lebanon’s stability and resilience to withstand regional challenges. The Security Council encourages all parties in Lebanon to demonstrate renewed unity and determination to that end, in order to ensure Lebanon’s ability to address the growing security, economic, social and humanitarian challenges facing the country.
The Security Council affirms that the preservation of Lebanon’s stability is essential to regional stability and security. The Security Council underscores its previous calls on all Lebanese parties to recommit to Lebanon’s policy of dissociation and to cease any involvement in the Syrian crisis, consistent with their commitment in the Baabda declaration.
The Security Council commends Prime Minister Tammam Salam for his leadership throughout the difficult period and his efforts to enable the Government to function effectively without a President. The Security Council further commends Speaker Nabih Berri for his efforts at fostering continued dialogue among all Lebanese parties.

The Security Council expresses its appreciation for the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon and calls on the international community, including international organizations, to ensure continued support to Lebanon in addressing the economic, security and humanitarian challenges facing the country. The Security Council reiterates its support to the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and encourages her to pursue her good offices role in this crucial period for Lebanon, in close coordination with the ISG.
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Ban congratulate President Aoun, calls Lebanese to form a government without delay

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
Presidential election in Lebanon

The Secretary-General welcomes the election today of the President of the Republic of Lebanon. He congratulates Michel Aoun on assuming the presidency and wishes him success in his position as Head of State.

The Secretary-General hopes that Lebanese parties will now continue to work in a spirit of unity and in the national interest.  

The people of Lebanon deserve to have functioning State institutions, in accordance with their constitutional and democratic rights.  The Secretary-General therefore encourages the formation without delay of a government that can effectively serve the needs of all Lebanese citizens and address the serious challenges facing the country. He further underlines the need to ensure the holding of parliamentary elections on time.      

The United Nations looks forward to working with President Aoun and the Lebanese authorities, with the support of international partners, to continue to help Lebanon preserve its security and stability and improve its socioeconomic prospects.
The Secretary-General further thanks Prime Minister Tamam Salam for his leadership throughout this challenging period. 

New York, 31 October 2016 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chemical Investigation Body -JIM Renewal Resolution: Technical Rollover

[PP1] Recalling its Resolutions 2235 (2015), 2209 (2015) and 2118 (2013),
[PP2] Noting that additional allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria are being investigated by the Fact-Finding Mission of the OPCW,
[PP3] Condemning again in the strongest terms any use of any toxic chemicals as a weapon in the Syrian Arab Republic and expressing alarm that civilians continue to be killed and injured by toxic chemical as weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic,
[PP4] Reaffirming that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious violation of international law and reiterating that those individuals responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable
[OP1] Decides to renew the mandate of the Joint investigative Mechanism, as set out in Resolution 2235, for a further period of one year from the date of adoption of this resolution, with a possibility of future extension by the Security Council if it deems necessary;
[OP2] Reaffirms paragraphs 4, 7, 8, 9, 12, and 15 of Resolution 2235;
[OP3] Requests the United Nations Secretary-General, in coordination with the OPCW Director-General, to present a report to the United Nations Security Council and inform the OPCW Executive Council every 60 days on the progress made;
[OP4] Requests the Joint Investigative Mechanism to complete a further report within 90 days of adoption of this resolution, and complete subsequent reports as appropriate thereafter, and requests the Joint Investigative Mechanism to present the report, or reports, to the United Nations Security Council and inform the OPCW Executive Council;

[OP5] Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Canada Seeks General Assembly Action on Syria After Security Council's "Failure"

Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
October 13th, 2016

H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson,
President of the seventy first session of the UN General Assembly
United Nations Headquarters, Conference Building, Room CB-0246
New York, NY 10017

Your Excellency,
We have the honour to write to you on behalf of 69 Member States, including Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay to express our serious concern about the humanitarian tragedy that continues to unfold in Syria.

We are deeply concerned that the international community has failed to address the overwhelming humanitarian needs of Syrians and to halt the attacks against civilian targets in Aleppo and other parts of Syria. The failure, in this case, by the United Nations Security Council to carry out its responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security in Syria is troubling.

The General Assembly also has responsibilities which should be exercised in regard to the maintenance of international peace and security. The victims of this tragedy deserve action, starting with a cessation of hostilities and immediate humanitarian access allowing for a resumption of political talks and unhindered access.

We are, therefore, calling on you as President of the General Assembly to immediately call a plenary meeting of the current General Assembly. This would allow the entire United Nations membership the opportunity to address this issue, in accordance with the UN Charter. We believe that such a meeting is an important first step for Member States to explore concerted action to apply pressure on the parties to the violence and, ultimately, protect the lives of those innocent civilians who remain in harm’s way. This meeting would also assist Member States in determining whether to call for an Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly.

We stand ready to support you in your role as President of the General Assembly and urge you to bring this issue to the full UN membership and the Secretary -General.

Please accept Excellency the assurances of our highest consideration.

Sincerely yours,
Marc-Andre Blanchard
Ambassador and
Permanent Representative
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Friday, October 7, 2016

De Mistura's Truce Plan: Nusra, Heavy Weapons Out of Eastern Aleppo

As delivered


Friday, 7 October 2016
Mr. President,
1. Let me first of all give you a bit of the context, and I will definitely refer to the proposal.  Since I last briefed you during the emergency session of the Council on 27 September the situation in Aleppo has continued to deteriorate in front of our own eyes.  In eastern Aleppo, 275.000 civilians, including 100.000 children, are subject to daily, often indiscriminate bombardment, including reportedly by cluster-ammunition and bunker-busting weapons.  Since 19 September, this has been exacerbated by a ground-offensive by the Syrian and allied armed forces. People have nowhere to hide.  And while some sources on the ground tell us that bombardment has decreased somewhat in the last 3 days after the government has announced it would scale back, we cannot simply welcome a simple piecemeal reduction. Why?  Because since 23 September to 5 October, 376 people have been reported killed, one third of them actually children.  And a further 1266 civilians, including many children, have been wounded. 

2. While not anything like of the same scale, the civilian population of the Government-controlled parts of Aleppo is also affected by the continuing conflict in Aleppo city. There’s been shelling by the Armed Opposition Groups in eastern Aleppo, including by raining down with home-made hell fire rockets, is claiming victims in western Aleppo on a regular basis – including multiple mortar rounds which have been hitting al-Jamiliah neighbourhood yesterday, reportedly killing 11 people and leaving 70 wounded.  In other words, both sides have been affected, but let’s be frank, no comparison with eastern Aleppo.  So let’s go back to eastern Aleppo.

3. Eastern Aleppo is now besieged –not de facto, formally-, and last reached by the UN on 7 July, a long time ago as we are now in October, and food is rapidly running out. As both water and electricity plants are damaged, the access to energy and running water is deeply insecure, creating a risk of water-borne diseases. A lack of adequate medical care is a death sentence for many of the wounded. That is why we are in such a hurry for trying to find some type of medical evacuation.  All of the hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been struck by bombs at least twice, making it hard to argue that this was not deliberate. Just in the last week alone, there have been seven attacks, and two hospitals have been almost completely destroyed. Medical staff are working around the clock, to care for the wounded with the limited resources they have. Every day, they have to choose how to use their limited means. Who to treat, and who to let die. It is estimated that at least 200 patients require urgent medical evacuation. They do so at great personal risk. Last week, three of only 35 doctors remaining in eastern Aleppo have been killed, together with two nurses. 

4. A humanitarian pause, consisting of at least two consecutive days of calm when arms will fall silent, would certainly allow us to evacuate the most urgent cases among the sick and the wounded, and deliver much needed humanitarian assistance to eastern Aleppo. Of course, the fear is that this could become just a band-aid for a wound and three days later the bombing would start again.  The UN and our partners have been working on a medical evacuation plan, together with the support of the EU, in order to act any time we can. I would like to stress that these days of calm will not be used for any other purpose at this time – only medical evacuation. However, let me be clear, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners will be unable to undertake these medical evacuations alone, unless we receive an agreement and a firm commitment from the Government of Syria, the Russian Federation, the United States and Syrian opposition and armed groups for at least two consecutive days of calm and tranquillity while humanitarian/medical workers safely evacuate those in need.  I repeat, if that happens it would be extremely welcome but it would be band aid, it would not solve the situation, they would keep some people who are wounded alive and it would give a short reprieve to the city, but next thing that would happen would be bombardment again until it is destroyed.  The UN will designate specific focal points to coordinate the operational details of the medical evacuation plan with the concerned parties on the ground, if this moves forward.

5. In Aleppo, hundreds of thousands of civilians need protection. The Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed his outrage at what is happening in the strongest possible terms, including in this very Council.  The heavy and indiscriminate aerial bombardment is a major threat to the civilian population in eastern Aleppo. It has to stop, it has to stop. The same is true for the indiscriminate shelling of western Aleppo, it has to stop.  And there must be immediate, unhindered humanitarian access to eastern Aleppo and all besieged areas.  West Aleppo in that sense, has no problem, it is not besieged, aid can come and is coming, and so is food.  Civilians must be protected and the cessation of hostilities must be restored in all of Syria.  

6. So let me be clear: I hope this Council will take decisive action on Aleppo. I hope the cessation of hostilities can be restored, and the bombardment of civilian areas will cease. 

7. Unfortunately, however, the fighting has continued and is continuing unabated. If the cruel, constant bombing does not stop, eastern Aleppo could be totally destroyed by Christmas, and we know it already today – at this rate there will be no eastern Aleppo by Christmas.  When I last briefed you, I warned of a slow, grinding, street-by-street fight – and this is exactly what we see transpiring. 

8. The scale of the tragedy is already massive and the depth of the distress among the civilians is profound, but the situation may even get worse if military activities do continue at this rate. Thousands of the 275,000 people, of which 100,000 children, who are trapped in the city may get killed or wounded, and many may seek to leave the city and become internally displaced or refugees. This cannot be an option and the world cannot passively wait for this to happen. There is a need for urgent action to avert another Srebrenica, another Rwanda. We have the moral duty to act, on behalf of everyone who is outraged, shocked and frustrated by what they are seeing and unable to do something about.

Mr. President, Members of the Council,
9. A lot has been said about the presence of al-Nusra in eastern Aleppo. One parenthesis:  I hope we all agree al-Nusra is a terrorist organisation listed by the United Nations Security Council, so we are talking about them, al-Nusra a terrorsit organisation and identified with al Qaeda despite any cosmetic changes to their name.  According to our estimates, the group has a maximum of 900 fighters in the city of eastern Aleppo. I hear lower numbers from some sources. I hear higher numbers from other sources. The UN is in a position to make an estimate more accurate every day, and in fact, we also have means to do so, and there will no game of numbers here - maximum 900 without question, probably less than that, some of them have already left, because they are cowards, they tend to normally do that, that’s what they did in the past.  And they are, as we know, all of them listed.  

10. As I have repeatedly stated, their presence should not be used as an alibi -I used this word carefully, but with calculated care-  the presence of perhaps maximum 900 al-Nusra terrorist fighters -they are the only fighters we identify as terrorists, you identify as terrorists at any rate- should not be used as an alibi for the continued assault, bombing, for which there cannot be any justification. 

11. Yesterday, during the press stakeout following the meeting of the ISSG Humanitarian Task Force in Geneva, I floated one idea consisting of the following elements:
- An immediate and total halt of the bombing of eastern Aleppo.
- The evacuation of the al-Nusra fighters from eastern Aleppo – in dignity and with their weapons – to Idlib or to any other place in Syria;
- Keeping the local administration intact and ensuring that it can continue do its work unhindered; and
- Some form of international presence.

12. Obviously, official guarantees will be needed to ensure the safe exit of the al-Nusra fighters, including from the Russian Federation. As I have stated before, I am personally ready physically to accompany them, should this help to convince them to accept my proposal and not keep the whole city and population of eastern Aleppo as their hostage. 

13. Guarantees, also including from the Russian Federation, will also be needed to ensure the ability of the local administration, including local security, to continue functioning without any government interference - without any government interference.  For this reason, an international presence would be welcome and needed, drawing on ideas already discussed in the context of the cessation of hostilities. And those guarantees have to be given in writing.

14. The detailed plan of the evacuation of the al-Nusra fighters, with Russian guarantees for safe passage and potential appropriate UN presence, has to be worked out. We should also of course continue to consult with concerned Syrian parties and relevant member states with influence on the sides, to convince al-Nusra to leave the place.  In this respect I take note of the Syrian National Coalition’s statement that they will discuss the proposal with AOGs in Aleppo and on the basis of UN providing guarantees. Other senior representatives of the opposition have remained open to entertaining favourably aspects of this proposal, in view of the fact they may not be able to say so but they too also feel that al-Nusra in a way is becoming an alibi for an indiscriminate bombing, and this should not be left untouched.

15. Let me be clear on a few points:  First, this is separate and distinct from efforts for urgent medical evacuations and humanitarian access.  If that takes place, we will be delighted, you can imagine, and we don’t want the two things to be contaminated.
16. Second, nothing of what I described can happen without prior cessation of the bombardment of the civilian areas and a ceasefire.  For instance, we have to prepare this to make sure that civilians are reached, in a safe environment, and those of al-Nusra, who we hope will decide to leave, can do so safely.  And third, nothing here is a substitute for any action that you, as the Council might take.  The two things are disconnected, mine is a cri du cœur, as they say in French, it is an appeal and a proposal in order to try to unlock what otherwise is going to be an ongoing complete destruction of the city.  

17. Fourth, this is NOT a call, as some have said, for the evacuation of the Armed Opposition Groups from eastern Aleppo. It is not a call for the evacuation of the Armed Opposition Groups from eastern Aleppo. It is for the voluntary evacuation of al-Nusra, the terrorist organisation listed by yourselves.  And it therefore is clearly different from existing local agreements. It is not one of the local agreements that you are famously aware of – and we are too.  It is an idea floated by me that a group identified by this Council as a terrorist group should safely leave in dignity, despite the way they treat us, in order to save a great city, to save 275,000 people from an appalling fate, and to remove an alibi for an ongoing indiscriminate bombing. If al-Nusra are 900 people, then 900 will have to leave. If they are less, then less will leave. We will be actually involved in that.  The point is that every Nusra fighter will leave the city and the rest will stay if they want to. 

18. Fifth, it is NOT a call for the evacuation of the civilian population of eastern Aleppo, just the contrary, and this has been misinterpreted by some in the media.  It is not an evacuation of the population, no ethnical cleansing, just the contrary.  It is the contrary of that, in fact it is a call for them to be able to stay where they are, without Nusra terrorists or indiscriminate bombing used as argument to destroy al Nusra – and with guarantees and humanitarian aid, and their own independent current administration.

19. Sixth, local administrations should be allowed to perform all functions, including judicial and public safety functions, -also in self-protection against spoilers- with the support of the non-Nusra AOGs in situ.   This would naturally, as everything in this context, be a temporary arrangement until there is a political solution to the crisis agreed upon by all parties.  We will always be in favour of one Syria, this is however, at the moment, an emergency.  

20. Seventh, any arrangement would have to clear that appropriate weaponry would be allowed to remain with elements of the armed opposition (non-Nusra) groups who would provide public safety inside eastern Aleppo.

21. Eight, unimpeded humanitarian access to eastern Aleppo and civilian and commercial traffic should also be allowed, provided no weapons are being transported, by putting in place monitoring arrangements along the lines already discussed with respect to eastern Aleppo under the 9 September agreement between the US and the Russian Federation, which remains still unimplemented.

22. Last but not least, while this is a call for immediate halting of all military operations across the entire city of Aleppo, with the frontlines staying as they are as of the time of entry into force of this possible agreement, it DOES NOT lessen our appeal for an immediate return to a nationwide cessation of hostilities, which always will remain our major target. Nor should it provide justification for intensified fighting elsewhere in the country.  Let me stress that as the United Nations, we put every idea we have in the context of getting back urgently to a political process. 

Mr. President,

23. We are in an emergency situation, that is why we are meeting today, and it requires emergency efforts.  This may be a way to save 275,000 people from more horror and death, and save one of the great cities of Syria, the Arab world, and the world from every other consequence, and enable a modicum of co-existence and perhaps trust-building within Syria and among and between the major outside players if this takes place, and take a leap forward towards a reduction in fighting and a real political process. I am full of respect for any decision that this Council will want to take, and I will not interfere with that, and I am always open to better ideas – but concrete ideas please, to save Aleppo. But I am not open to no ideas.  The writing on the wall I said yesterday is there – if this continues, and the alibi of al-Nusra stays there, and the bombardment continues to take place, by December you and us will be watching the destruction of eastern Aleppo, hundreds of thousands of refugees moving towards Turkey, our conscience saying: in October we could have stopped it, and another Srebrenica or Rwanda being on our consciences.  I have gone through that period, I don’t want to be part of it.  That’s why with you I hope we can find a concrete formula.  
Thank you.  
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