UN / SYRIA

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28-Apr-2021 00:05:02
Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen sounded “a warning to all – a warning to prioritize the proactive search for a settlement of the Syrian conflict,” adding that “despite more than a year of relative calm by Syrian standards, this month reminded us of the potential for the situation to further disintegrate or rapidly deteriorate.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA
TRT: 5:02
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 APRIL 2021, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

28 APRIL 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiscreen
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations:
“I want today to sound a warning to all – a warning to prioritize the proactive search for a settlement of the Syrian conflict. Despite more than a year of relative calm by Syrian standards, this month reminded us of the potential for the situation to further disintegrate or rapidly deteriorate.”
4. Multiscreen
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations:
“I worry about the economic destitution facing the Syrian people – in the context of a decade of conflict and destruction, corruption and mismanagement, war economies, the Lebanese financial collapse, the pandemic, and sanctions. While the Syrian pound recovered some value this month, against a backdrop of Syrian Government measures, food prices remain at historic highs and inflation has not abated. 12.4 million are now food insecure - an increase of 4.5 million in the last year alone. Fuel shortages remain a key concern as well.”
6. Multiscreen
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Geir O. Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria, United Nations:
“We take note that a presidential election in Syria has been scheduled for 26 May. The election has been called under the auspices of the current Constitution, and is not part of the political process established by Security Council resolution 2254. The UN is not involved in this election and has no mandate to be. The UN continues to stress the importance of a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Syria. In this regard, resolution 2254 mandates the UN to facilitate a political process that culminates in the holding of free and fair elections in accordance with a new Constitution, administered under United Nations supervision to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.”
8. Multiscreen
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Since testing across the country is so limited, there is a high degree of uncertainty over exactly the scale of the pandemic in Syria. But from the available information, it is pretty clear that the virus spread is, again, rapid but also accelerating. The number of new cases recorded by the Ministry of Health in March was twice the number recorded in February. Hospitals in Damascus, including intensive care units, are now full. In northern Syria, new cases have been confirmed in displacement camps, including at al Hol and al Roj. Both those camps lack the resources to treat COVID patients.”
10. Multiscreen
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“We can’t, under current conditions, substitute for the cross-border channel. We are continuing to engage with the parties to deploy a first cross-line humanitarian convoy into north-west Syria. A revised concept of operations for that convoy and the delivery was presented in March. It has not yet been rejected, but nor have the operational details of the proposed mission been agreed by everybody. So consultations continue to try to address parties’ reservations, including on the question of how aid would be distributed once the convoy reaches the places it is intended to reach.”
12. Multiscreen
13. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Bassam Sabbagh, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations:
“Some has been launching a destruction campaign to disrupt this electoral process by mixing the fulfilment of this constitutional requirement with some of the provisions of the Security Council Resolution 2254. The statements that some countries delivered today is a clear evident of such confusion or rather misinformation. This is a flagrant violation of the principle of not-interfering its internal affairs of a Member State. Those countries must abide their obligations through protecting the United Nations Charter and stop infringing upon Syrians rights to choose their president freely, responsibly and democratically, and stop issuing provocative and hostile statements that do not serve the goal of restoring security and stability in Syria.”
14. Multiscreen

STORYLINE:

Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen sounded “a warning to all – a warning to prioritize the proactive search for a settlement of the Syrian conflict,” adding that “despite more than a year of relative calm by Syrian standards, this month reminded us of the potential for the situation to further disintegrate or rapidly deteriorate.”

Addressing the Security Council via a video link today (28 Apr), Pedersen noted that there has been a significant escalation in north-west Syria. This included strikes on a UN supported and notified hospital in western Aleppo close to densely populated IDP camps, and on the Syrian-Turkish border where UN cross-border humanitarian deliveries take place, as well as shelling on residential areas of western Aleppo city.

The Special Envoy also expressed concern on the economic destitution facing the Syrian people – “in the context of a decade of conflict and destruction, corruption and mismanagement, war economies, the Lebanese financial collapse, the pandemic, and sanctions.”

He said, “while the Syrian pound recovered some value this month, against a backdrop of Syrian Government measures, food prices remain at historic highs and inflation has not abated. 12.4 million are now food insecure - an increase of 4.5 million in the last year alone. Fuel shortages remain a key concern as well.”

The Special Envoy for Syria stressed again the importance of unblocking progress on detainees, abductees and missing persons. He reiterated his appeal for the Syrian government and all other Syrian parties to carry out unilateral releases of detainees and abductees, and to undertake meaningful actions on missing persons - at a scale that is commensurate with the scope of this tragic issue.

Pedersen also said, “we take note that a presidential election in Syria has been scheduled for 26 May. The election has been called under the auspices of the current Constitution, and is not part of the political process established by Security Council resolution 2254.”

He continued, “the UN is not involved in this election and has no mandate to be. The UN continues to stress the importance of a negotiated political solution to the conflict in Syria. In this regard, resolution 2254 mandates the UN to facilitate a political process that culminates in the holding of free and fair elections in accordance with a new Constitution, administered under United Nations supervision to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate.”

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock also briefed the Council via a video link. He said, “since testing across the country is so limited, there is a high degree of uncertainty over exactly the scale of the pandemic in Syria. But from the available information, it is pretty clear that the virus spread is, again, rapid but also accelerating.”

Lowcock continued, “the number of new cases recorded by the Ministry of Health in March was twice the number recorded in February. Hospitals in Damascus, including intensive care units, are now full. In northern Syria, new cases have been confirmed in displacement camps, including at al Hol and al Roj. Both those camps lack the resources to treat COVID patients.”

On humanitarian access, Lowcock said, “we can’t, under current conditions, substitute for the cross-border channel, adding that “we are continuing to engage with the parties to deploy a first cross-line humanitarian convoy into north-west Syria.”

He continued, “a revised concept of operations for that convoy and the delivery was presented in March. It has not yet been rejected, but nor have the operational details of the proposed mission been agreed by everybody. So consultations continue to try to address parties’ reservations, including on the question of how aid would be distributed once the convoy reaches the places it is intended to reach.”

On the upcoming election, Syrian Ambassador Bassam Sabbagh said, “some has been launching a destruction campaign to disrupt this electoral process by mixing the fulfillment of this constitutional requirement with some of the provisions of the Security Council Resolution 2254.”

He said “the statements that some countries delivered today is a clear evident of such confusion or rather misinformation," adding “this is a flagrant violation of the principle of not-interfering its internal affairs of a Member State.”

The Syrian Ambassador continued, “those countries must abide their obligations through protecting the United Nations Charter and stop infringing upon Syrians rights to choose their president freely, responsibly and democratically, and stop issuing provocative and hostile statements that do not serve the goal of restoring security and stability in Syria.”
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