Expressing his deep concern at the ever-deteriorating situation in Syria, and its growing regional impact, the Secretary-General called for stemming the supply of arms to any side in the Syrian conflict. More arms would only mean more deaths and destruction. He underlined the appalling humanitarian crisis in Syria, where a third of the population is now in need of urgent assistance, and he strongly reiterated his appeal for donor countries to fully support United Nations humanitarian efforts.
The Secretary-General also stressed that there could be no alternative to a political solution to end the Syrian conflict, hence the urgent need for dialogue between the parties.
Turning to the Middle East Peace Process, the Secretary-General said he continued to urge the Israelis and Palestinians to redouble their efforts to reach an agreement on all core issues of the conflict. He stressed the absolute importance of progress in 2013, adding that the current opportunity should not be missed. The Secretary-General also recalled his statement of 19 February 2013, in which he had expressed deep concern over the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody and also emphasized the position of the United Nations that those detained should be charged and face trial in accordance with international standards, or else be promptly released.