Mr. President, the United States is horrified by the Assad regime's persistence in its bloody campaign against the Syrian people. As if these acts themselves were not reprehensible enough, the regime continues to defend its actions through ridiculous conspiracy theories and outright lies to its citizens while its regular and irregular forces commit gross human rights violations.
The May 25 massacre in Houla was an unambiguous demonstration of the Syrian government’s flagrant violations of its commitments as set forth in Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043 and its obligations under applicable international law. Artillery and tank fire on residential areas are not nuanced. The cold-blooded murder of more than 100 people, including at least 49 children under the age of 10, cannot be seen as part of a gray area. We put responsibility for this massacre firmly at the feet of the Assad regime. In this regard, the United States welcomes the Human Rights Council's June 1st special session and its request for the Commission of Inquiry to conduct an investigation into the massacre. Those responsible for perpetrating such crimes must be held accountable.
We are appalled by the latest reports of regime-sponsored violence in Hama. UN observers must be given immediate, full, and secure access to confirm the facts on the ground.
Let us be plain. To date, the Assad regime has made no serious efforts to comply with its commitments to any of the six points of the Annan plan. The regime continues to use its heavy weapons against civilians. Tanks and troops remain deployed in urban areas. Political prisoners have been set free only in very small numbers, and fundamental freedoms remain greatly restricted.
Mr. President, the onus remains unmistakably on the Syrian government to end its brutal war against the Syrian people and take immediate steps toward a cessation of violence. If it does not do so, the international community must take further steps to increase pressure. In this vein, we welcome the June 2 decision of the League of Arab States.
The United States remains fully committed to supporting Joint Special Envoy Annan, and we will continue to engage with all parties concerned to push for the implementation of his six point plan. We seek a unified international community that will assist a political transition that meets the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. But, we are sober to the fact that there is no possibility of moving forward with a dialogue that achieves this goal until the Syrian regime demonstrates meaningful and substantial progress towards its obligations and commitments.
Finally, Mr. President, please allow me to thank the Joint Special Envoy for his tireless efforts and the Secretary General for his leadership. I would also like to express the appreciation of my government for the brave men and women who are serving in the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria. Thank you.
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