New York, 22 July 2022 (TDI):  Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations (UN), Justin Fepuleai delivered the statement at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for the special Veto Initiative session.

The statement came after Russia vetoed the resolution proposed by Ireland and Norway regarding humanitarian assistance to Syria.

The resolution was supported by 13 members of the Council. However, the resolution was not passed due to Russia’s veto against it.

Justin Fepuleai, on behalf of New Zealand, mentioned that it was disappointing that a veto prevents the Council from fulfilling its responsibility.

He stated that Russia’s decision has caused unnecessary uncertainty and delay in providing crucial humanitarian assistance. Also, New Zealand is not convinced by the Russian explanation for using a veto against the resolution.

The Deputy Representative also highlighted that people and aid organizations will face uncertainty and fear because of the use of this veto. The humanitarian assistance resolution was proposed to provide humanitarian assistance to Syria.

It incorporated the required elements that would ease the suffering of the Syrian people along with providing operational certainty for implementing organizational decisions on the ground.

Also, he mentioned that the resolution was in line with humanitarian principles and was important to reduce the humanitarian crisis in Syria. In addition, he appreciated the work of Ireland and Norway as well as the tireless work of the UN.

Furthermore, Justin Fepuleai also appreciated the efforts of humanitarian partners. He stated that it was remarkable how they were delivering the assistance in areas where it was needed the most in dangerous conditions.

On behalf of New Zealand, the Deputy Representative went on to acknowledge that the mechanism was renewed ensuring continuous humanitarian assistance at Bab Al Hawa. The Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing is an international border between Syria and Turkiye.

Justin Fepuleai added that the cross-border mandate also needs to be renewed again in January. It is the time of winter when the people will need cross-border assistance the most.

Along these lines, he mentioned that the UN Secretary-General’s report clearly shows the situation in Syria. Likewise, it shows how important the cross-border mechanism is to help people in Syria.

In conclusion, he called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to swiftly and unanimously extend the cross-border mechanism before it expires in January expiration.