New York

26 May 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the fighting in Syria and risk of regional spillover

The Secretary-General continues to be extremely concerned by the intense military confrontation in Syria, in particular in recent days in and around the town of Qusayr, and the resulting human toll and suffering.  The Secretary-General reiterates that protecting civilians must be the priority and urges all to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the acknowledged increased participation in the fighting in Syria by Hizbullah, as well as by the risk of spillover in Lebanon, which has witnessed growing tension over the past week.  All in the region should act responsibly and work towards lowering rhetoric and calming tensions in the region.  The Secretary-General has consistently opposed the transfer of arms and fighters from outside Syria to either side inside Syria.  He has repeatedly urged respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region.  As preparations are ongoing for the international conference on Syria, the Secretary-General urges all countries, organizations and groups immediately to cease supporting the violence inside Syria and instead to use their influence to promote a political solution to Syria’s tragedy.

The Secretary-General reiterates the paramount importance of preventing a dangerous spillover of the conflict across borders.  He believes that strict adherence to the Baabda Declaration will help preserve Lebanon’s stability and security, and calls on all Lebanese leaders and parties to renew their commitment to it and keep Lebanon safe from conflict.