UN chief, special envoys pledge to ‘spare no effort’ to end Syria bloodshed

Hundreds of refugees from Syria cross the border into Jordan, receiving food and water before being transported to processing centres. Photo: UNHCR/J.Kohler

17 July 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, flanked by his new special envoys for Syria, today pledged to “spare no effort” to help end the bloodshed and bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict that brought untold suffering to millions.

“The Syrian people have suffered enough and too long. It is time for action. It is time for peace,” Mr. Ban said at a photo opportunity at United Nations Headquarters with Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and Deputy Special Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy.

“Together, we will spare no effort to help stop the violence and achieve a Syrian-led inclusive political solution that meets the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people,” said the UN chief.

“The full support of the parties and the international community, including especially a united Security Council, will be essential,” he added.

Both Mr. de Mistura, who will take on the peace-facilitation role previously held by Lakhdar Brahimi, and Mr. Ramzy have travelled to New York for a first round of consultations following their appointment to the posts last week.

The conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has led to well over 150,000 deaths, and more than 680,000 people have been injured. At least 10.8 million people are in need of assistance inside Syria, including at least 6.5 million who are internally displaced.

The conflict has also spawned a refugee crisis in which some 2.5 million people are being sheltered in neighbouring countries.

In response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, the Security Council earlier this week adopted a resolution aimed at increasing access to civilians in difficult-to-reach areas by authorizing the delivery of assistance across borders and conflict lines.

Resolution 2165 should enable UN humanitarian agencies and their partners to reach up to 2.9 million more people with vital aid by using the most direct routes.

“This resolution represents a breakthrough in our efforts to get aid to Syrians in need,” the heads of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a joint statement.

At the same time, they noted that while this resolution addresses one challenge, many others remain: large parts of Syria are a war zone, making aid delivery difficult; there are onerous administrative procedures before convoys are allowed to travel from one place to another; it costs an enormous amount of money to get aid to so many people; and raising funds is difficult.

“We reiterate the calls of the Secretary-General and the UN community for all parties to the conflict and those with influence over them to enable unconditional humanitarian access to all people in need without discrimination, using all available routes,” said the three officials.

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