Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Acting U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At the Security Council Stakeout Following Consultations on Syria

Rosemary A. DiCarlo
Charge d'Affaires United States Mission to the UN 
New York, NY
July 16, 2013


Ambassador DiCarlo: You all heard the briefings this morning by Under-Secretaries General Valerie Amos and Antonio Guterres, and Assistant Secretary-General Simonovic. They described the humanitarian and human rights situation in Syria. They spent quite a bit of time with us, as you can see, in consultations. In the discussions with them this morning, Council members were quite united in the need for access throughout Syria for humanitarian workers. They expressed concern at the shortages of critical supplies. Council members were quite clear in calling on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.

Obviously, everyone expressed full support for the humanitarian agencies—OCHA, UNHCR, UNRWA, of course—and other humanitarian agencies working with them, and they also expressed their appreciation for the work they are doing despite the bureaucratic restrictions which limit their ability to deliver assistance.

Obviously, the Council members expressed profound appreciation for the generosity of neighboring countries that are hosting Syrian refugees. Quite a number of Council members made reference to the statement by the Permanent Representative of Lebanon that the refugee flows in his country are sort of equal to having 75 million refugees come to the United States. It struck me certainly when he made that comment as well the kind of situation that he is—his country is dealing with. Members underscored the need for increased assistance from governments to fulfill pledges they have made and also for governments to donate even more generously in light of the revised UN appeals. There was some discussion also with the issue of sexual violence against women and girls and men and boys during this very difficult crisis.

In my national capacity, I just want to stress that, despite the laudable efforts by the UN agencies that are operating under very difficult conditions, many Syrians remain cut off from humanitarian assistance. We urge continued pressure on the regime—international pressure—for the regime to meet its obligations to allow assistance to be delivered across Syria’s borders. We also ask that the international community insist that the regime reduce the bureaucratic hurdles to the provision of cross-line assistance. And of course, we are asking all parties to the conflict to allow unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

With that, I am happy to take a few questions.

Reporter: Thank you, Madame Ambassador. Did you discuss in the consultations the cross-border deliveries, as you mentioned in your national capacity? Because in the past there was some slight agreement between the Security members about this issue, and we have not seen ever since anything developing at that front.

Ambassador DiCarlo: Thank you. This issue came up. Obviously there was discussion about cross-border and cross-line assistance, and the need for both—cross-life definitely, cross-border as appropriate. That was discussed, but there are no sort of decisions—conclusions—that came out of that discussion.

Reporter: Yes, Madame Ambassador, during the speech, particularly of the assistant secretary general for human rights, in addition to criticizing the regime for its human rights abuses, he also said that the armed opposition groups have committed acts of torture, abduction, kidnapping, sometimes along sectarian lines, also that foreigners have been transiting across the Syrian border to participate in the fighting. Both in your capacity as president of the Council and in your national capacity, could you comment on this increased emphasis on the atrocities committed by the opposition as well as by the regime?

Ambassador DiCarlo: Well, first just as president, let me say obviously that Council members have all made very clear that all parties must uphold international humanitarian law and international human rights law. That has been clear. There’s certainly been discussions. It’s a murky situation. In my national capacity, we are on record. We have said very clearly all those who are accountable for violations of international law—abuses of international law—must be held accountable at the end of this crisis and during this crisis. I think we do have to distinguish between the armed opposition—the sort of the moderate opposition that many of us have been working with—and the extremist elements, and the extremist elements that have perpetrated some pretty horrible atrocities that we have seen in recent days.

Reporter: Yeah, I have two questions. One on Syria. Do you get the sense that these Security Council meetings on Syria are becoming almost routine? What is your impression on that? And then there was a ship that the Panamanians inspected, and there are concerns that there may be UN sanctions violations there. Do you think this is something that the Sanctions Committee should be looking at? Might you report it if necessary or leave that to Panama?

Ambassador DiCarlo: Thank you very much. First of all, on the issue of the Syrian meetings. I don’t think they’re becoming routine. I think just the length of the meeting today demonstrates the commitment of the Council to try to find a way forward. Again, I’m speaking in my national capacity. I could say the same maybe as president, but I think there is a commitment to find a way forward. There was a lot of passion in the room and frankly a lot of frustration that we have not been able to come together and speak with one voice, even on humanitarian issues. And I think we are all very grateful to the briefers to spend as much time with us as they did to tell us about the situation that they are witnessing first hand and trying to cope with this at this point, but I would not say it’s routine. But again, it’s quite clear that if the Council could speak with one voice we might be able to—

Reporter: Right, there’s passion, but it’s still deadlocked? If I could just follow up on that—

Ambassador DiCarlo: Let us say that the Council has not spoken with one voice. On the—yes, on the shipment. Well, first of all, we commend the actions of the government of Panama, the actions they took in this case. Panama obviously has an important responsibility to ensure that the Panama Canal is utilized for safe and legal commerce. As you know, I mean—shipments of arms or related material to or from Korea* – of arms or related material to or from Korea*—would violate Security Council resolutions—three of them as a matter of fact. Obviously, this shipment, if it’s confirmed to have what we suspect, would be of interest to the Sanctions Committee.



* North Korea

PRN: 2013/121