UN / SYRIA

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30-Aug-2017 00:03:10
UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said it is a “sad, tragic, blunt truth” that he is still urging the Security Council to find a way “to stop the Syrian people paying the price of political failure” during his last appearance in this role. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA
TRT: 03:10
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 AUGUST 2017, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

30 AUGUST 2017, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“Mr. President, in this violent, brutal, chaotic world we live in today, it is a sad, tragic, blunt truth that on this, my last appearance in this role before you, the Security Council of the United Nations, the highest body in the world charged with preventing and resolving wars, conflicts and the desperate human death, pain and suffering directly caused, I am still urging you, in the name of our common humanity, to find a way to stop the Syrian people paying the price of political failure.”
4. Med shot, Egyptian ambassador
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“The fact that month after month it is the unremitting, fearful plight of the Syrian people which sears into our hearts and outrages and torments our minds, I am bound to reflect; surely we can do better.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“The team on the ground is working day and night to make this a reality, including negotiating with the Syrian authorities to turn partial approvals into full approvals, and let me stress with all the force at my command, to put an end to the removal of medical supplies, which continues. And Do I need to remind you that that means birthing kits are not hostile weapons? What is in the minds of these brutes who remove these items and the people at the highest levels in the Syrian Government who order this to happen. No wonder they haven’t allowed me back to Syria since December 2015. Speaking ‘truth to power’ only hurts when it is a shameful truth.”
8. Med shot, Uruguayan ambassador
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“In Syria, in Yemen, or in the countless other areas of today's and tonight's desperate man-made humanitarian needs of people caught up in conflict crises, surely what divides you on this Council cannot be more important than what must unite you and us all - our common humanity to relive the suffering of the world's most vulnerable and give hope and a future to those women, men, elderly, sick, and the children, the young girls and boys, caught up in crises, who deserve no less a life than each of you sitting round this horseshoe.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations:
“Ultimately, it would only be the Syrians who determine the future of their country; we know it. But an internationally supported and inclusive political process will be required to lay the foundation for a sustainable future and for a genuine reconstruction. It is the profound interest of the long-suffering people of Syria that the Government and the opposition realize that the time has come to engage in a more serious and concrete negotiation.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said it is a “sad, tragic, blunt truth” that he is still urging the Security Council to find a way “to stop the Syrian people paying the price of political failure” during his last appearance in this role.

Briefing the Security Council today on the situation in Syria, O’Brien said the Security Council is the highest body in the world charged with preventing and resolving conflicts and “the desperate human death, pain and suffering directly caused” by them. He said the Syrian conflict has shown the world the very worst of human behaviour adding that despite the many deliberate humanitarian horrors around the world, “the fact that month after month it is the unremitting, fearful plight of the Syrian people which sears into our hearts and outrages and torments our minds” bounds him to reflect that “surely we can do better.”

O’Brien said the UN had submitted its August-September inter-agency plan which aimed to reach 1,231,000 people and the Government gave authorizations to reach even more people than the UN requested, affirming that the UN and its partners could deliver assistance to 1,638,114 people. He said while this is welcome, the key was now to turn the approvals into actual deliveries. This includes putting an end to the removal of medical supplies, reminding the Council that “birthing kits are not hostile weapons.” O’Brien said the Syrian Government had not allowed him back to the country since December 2015 adding that “speaking ‘truth to power’ only hurts when it is a shameful truth.”

In his final appeal to the Council as Humanitarian Coordinator, O’Brien said “In Syria, in Yemen, or in the countless other areas of today's and tonight's desperate man-made humanitarian needs of people caught up in conflict crises, surely what divides you on this Council cannot be more important than what must unite you and us all - our common humanity to relive the suffering of the world's most vulnerable and give hope and a future to those women, men, elderly, sick, and the children, the young girls and boys, caught up in crises, who deserve no less a life than each of you sitting round this horseshoe [table].”

Speaking via Teleconference from Geneva, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said while there is still violence in the country, the trend of de-escalation continued. He said the positive developments in the country were a result of a very timely process of prioritization and cooperation among key external players, and a realization among internal players of the need to compromise. He said the challenge ahead would be to extend this spirit into the political realm. De Mistura noted that, ultimately, “it would only be the Syrians who determine the future of their country” but an “internationally supported and inclusive political process will be required to lay the foundation for a sustainable future.” He stressed that it is in “the profound interest of the long-suffering people of Syria that the Government and the opposition realize that the time has come to engage in a more serious and concrete negotiation.”
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