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Security Council to meet on humanitarian side of Syrian crisis in August

Council President, Ambassador Gérard Araud of France.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Council President, Ambassador Gérard Araud of France.

Security Council to meet on humanitarian side of Syrian crisis in August

With “military logic winning the day” in Syria and the United Nations observer mission there unlikely to be renewed, the Security Council will consider the plight of the three million Syrians in need of humanitarian aid, the Permanent Representative of France, which hold’s the body’s rotating presidency for August, said this afternoon.

“Some countries have drawn the conclusion that it’s over, that the Council is impotent on Syria. We would like to at least prove in the humanitarian arena, which is becoming more and more serious, that the Council can act,” Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, in reference to reported divisions within the Council on taking concerted action on the crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

Addressing a regular monthly media briefing on the Council’s agenda, Ambassador Araud said that among other situations of concern to the Council, the conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan and Mali will also draw its attention in August, as will the end of transitional governing arrangements in Somalia, due to expire on 20 August.

The conflict in Syria, however, will continue to present an acute challenge to consensus on the 15-member body, Ambassador Araud said. He predicted that the Council would not reach agreement at its meeting on 16 August on extending the mandate of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).

Established in April, UNSMIS had suspended its regular patrols in mid-June due to the escalating violence, in which over 15,000 people, mostly civilians, have reportedly been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 17 months ago.

In late July, the Council adopted resolution 2059, which extended UNSMIS’ mandate for another 30 days. The resolution also indicated that further renewals to UNSMIS’ mandate would be possible only if it can be confirmed that the use of heavy weapons has ceased and a reduction in violence by all sides was sufficient to allow the Mission it to implement its mandate. With the 30-day extension, UNSMIS’ mandate is set to expire on 19 August.

“The divisions in the Council are very deep. I think its irreconcilable in political terms,” he said, adding, “I think the mission will disappear on 19 August.”

The Council President also said that the 15-member body will hold a ministerial-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria in August.