Ladies and Gentlemen, good afternoon.
I am very pleased to introduce my new Special Envoy and Deputy Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura and Mr. Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy.
We are fortunate to be able to count on the experience and wisdom of these two esteemed diplomats. They have travelled to New York only days after their appointment for a first round of consultations. They will travel to Syria, the countries of the region and other relevant countries in the near future.
As you know, Mr. de Mistura brings to the position decades of experience with the United Nations in conflict-affected areas, including Somalia, the Middle East, the Balkans, Nepal and, most recently, as Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Ramzy has extensive diplomatic experience and deep knowledge of the region. He served most recently as Head of the Mission of the League of Arab States to Austria and Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna since May 2013.
I have assured Mr. de Mistura and Mr. Ramzy that we will work very closely in bringing my good offices to bear on the situation in Syria, with the support of my senior advisors.
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. The full support of the parties and the international community, including especially a united Security Council, will be essential.
The Syrian people have suffered enough and too long. It is time for action, and it is time for peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me say a few words about two other issues.
First, as you are aware, in the past hour or so, Israel has launched a ground offensive against Gaza. I regret that despite my repeated urgings, and those of many regional and world leaders together, an already dangerous conflict has now escalated even further. In the past 24 hours, there have been a number of incidents involving the deaths of civilians, including the appalling killing of four boys on a beach in Gaza City. I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties. There can be no military solution to this conflict. This applies as much to Israel-Palestine as it does to Syria.
Finally, with respect to the Malaysia Airlines disaster today in Ukraine, I am closely monitoring the reports, along with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency. There is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation. For the moment, I offer my deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and people of Malaysia.