(as delivered)


Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura

Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

At the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Middle East

(Syria, Humanitarian Situation)

22 August 2016



Madam President,


First of all, I would like to thank Under Secretary-General Mr. O’brien for his briefing and his commitment and engagement to save the lives of Syria.


Last December, the Council gathered in this chamber to unanimously adopt Resolution 2254, and expressed hope about advances in the political process.  Then, in February, we adopted Resolution 2268, endorsing the cessation of hostilities agreement.  It is hard to believe that half a year ago, we were discussing a cessation of hostilities for all of Syria.


Today, the picture is terribly different.  For the past month, our attention has centered on Aleppo, and Castello Road in particular.  We are far from being able to discuss a nation-wide cessation of hostilities, and instead find ourselves focused on a very particular area.


Madam President,


It pains me to see how much the situation in Syria has deteriorated.  Many of us have been reminded of the scope of the tragedy through the heartbreaking image of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh.  I was horrified to see the dust and blood covering Omran’s young face.  But the brave hospital and aid workers on the ground tell us that there are many, many more children just like Omran in Syria today.  So what can we do?  Humanitarian efforts are underway, and we are urging all influential parties to do their part.  But we should all be deeply troubled to see such a catastrophe continuing unresolved.


Madam President,


In his newest report, the Secretary-General urges the United States and the Russian Federation, the ISSG co-chairs, to rapidly reach an agreement for a ceasefire in Aleppo and beyond.  Japan appreciates the co-chairs for their efforts to improve the situation on the ground, and joins the Secretary-General in urging an agreement as soon as possible.


At the same time, I also want to urge all parties to extend their full efforts so that the tragedy in Syria does not get any worse.  UN humanitarian aid must move firmly forward, and the Four Town Agreement must be implemented.  This is the time for influential countries in the region to play a leading role.


Madam President,


I also want to take a moment to express profound gratitude to our UN and NGO colleagues on the ground, who are risking their lives to help the people of Syria even as the fighting worsens.  I also urge caution by the Syrian Government and all related parties in ensuring their safety.


Madam President,


I understand that the Russian Federation has expressed readiness to support a 48-hour military pause in Aleppo.  This would be a hugely important step in changing the situation in Aleppo.  In order for this to happen, and for UN and NGO actors to safely access the area, the cooperation of opposition forces is also essential.  We should appeal to the Syrian Government, opposition forces, and all influential parties in this regard.  The international community is watching to see whether the Security Council and the ISSG can improve the situation on the ground.  Our credibility is on the line.


Madam President,


The besieged areas and parts of Aleppo will demand our attention for some time to come.  However, once a pause or ceasefire is attained, and in parallel with the pursuit of a political solution, we also should consider how we can support early recovery and strengthen the resilience of Syrian society.  Most importantly, we should provide livelihoods, rehabilitate social infrastructure and strengthen social cohesion, thus provide hope to individuals and communities in Syria facing very difficult challenges. The international community must invest in preparedness and resilience in Syrian society in order to prevent recurrent crises.


I thank you, Madam President.



Facebook Twitter Youtube
Sitemap | Legal Matters | About Accessibility | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©2012 Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
The Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
866 U.N. Plaza, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-223-4300