Brussels, Belgium

05 April 2017

Secretary-General’s press encounter before the Opening Plenary Session at the Brussels Conference on Supporting Syrians and the Region

SG: Thank you very much.
The horrific events of yesterday demonstrate that, unfortunately, war crimes are going on in Syria, that international humanitarian law remains being violated frequently. The Security Council will meet today. We have been asking for accountability in relation to the crimes that are committed and I am confident the Security Council will live up to its responsibilities. At the same time, these events only prove how important this Conference is, how important it is to bring together the international community, to be able to put pressure on the parties of the conflict and on the countries that have influence on the parties of the conflict, to put aside their differences and understand that there is a fundamental need to put an end to this horrific war.
To make sure that in Astana a real ceasefire is implemented and monitored, to make sure that in Geneva peace talks have substance and move forward for a political solution and at the same time, let’s not forget the need for the international community to assume their responsibilities. This has been the most important initiative of the European Union in relation to this, in order for effective humanitarian aid to be provided to the Syrians.
Syrians are found suffering horribly inside Syria and the Syrian refugees go on with very, very terrible situations, and at the same time for the international community to express a much more effective solidarity to those communities building their resilience and to refugee-hosting countries that need budget supports, structural support in their investments in relation to water sanitation, education, health. These countries are bringing their people to create a global public good supporting Syrian refugees, and there is inherently now not enough solidarity from the international community. So I hope this Conference will be a very clear signal of the commitment of the international community to the Syrian people, and the commitment, also, to those countries around Syria that have been so generous with Syrian refugees.
Q: How can you make sure that the money the donors will promise [inaudible] after the war?
SG: As a matter of fact, most of the money that has been pledged in successive Syrian conferences has been effectively delivered. The problem is, that it is not enough in relation to the dramatic needs that we are facing.
Q: Do you hold the Assad regime responsible for the chemical attacks?
SG: I think that we need a very clear investigation to remove all doubts, and we need to have accountability based on the results of that investigation. Thank you very much.
Q: Is this something you suggest [inaudible]… UN Security Council?
SG: It is a very important meeting for the UN Security Council, for sure.
Q: [Inaudible]
SG: I don’t think we need to classify if it is a test or not. Everything we do is a test to a certain extent. This is a moment of truth. I hope this moment will mobilise the capacity of all those that have responsibilities in this situation. Thank you very much.