Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Mr. Pinheiro, for your briefing and for your impassioned plea to the membership today. We deeply appreciate the Commission of Inquiry’s continued efforts to document violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, despite the Assad regime’s longstanding refusal to grant the Commission access to Syria. We welcome the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s June 5th decision to assist the Commission in the fulfillment of its mandate, including in opposition-controlled areas, and we hope this commitment will allow the Commission to gain greater clarity of abuses on the ground.
Mr. President, we’re alarmed by the steadily increasing death toll, which the Secretary-General said last week has now surpassed 100,000. The Commission’s reporting highlights the horrific situation that exists in Syria today. Recent military action by the Syrian regime in Qusayr, Homs, and elsewhere, assisted by Hezbollah and Iran, has killed thousands of civilians and caused tremendous humanitarian suffering. We again condemn Hezbollah’s direct role in hostilities, which escalates violence inside Syria, incites instability in Lebanon, and inflames regional tensions.
The United States reiterates that all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Syria must be held accountable. For our part, we are helping prepare for a future Syrian-led accountability process by supporting the documentation of violations and abuses committed by all sides of the conflict.
We strongly support the continued work of the Commission of Inquiry as a central component of the international community’s commitment to accountability in Syria. We thank the members of the Commission for their continued collaboration, dialogue, and partnership with the members of the United Nations.
Finally, Mr. President, the United States continues to believe that the best way forward is a political solution based on the Geneva Action Group Communiqué of June, 2012—that is, a transfer of power to a transitional governing body with full executive powers based on mutual consent. The Syrian Opposition Coalition committed to implement the principles of the Geneva Communiqué and stated their readiness to attend a Geneva II Conference to this end during their visit to New York last week. We now look to the Syrian government to display a genuine commitment to a negotiated political transition based on the principles outlined in the Geneva Communiqué. This is the only way the suffering will end.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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