Statement Attributable to Dr. Najib Ghadbian
Special Representative of the Syrian Coalition to the UN
The Syrian Coalition welcomes today’s address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the crisis in Syria. As the UN Secretary-General noted, a political solution to the crisis in Syria remains elusive. Without a political solution, there can be no peace in Syria. Nor can there be peace in the region.
The Syrian Coalition remains committed to a political transition in Syria. But the Syrian regime has repeatedly refused to discuss the internationally-agreed framework for political transition, the Geneva Communiqué. Instead, it has further intensified its attacks on civilian targets and provided a haven for terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).
There is only one way to achieve a political solution in Syria: through a coordinated international effort aimed at sustained and targeted pressure on the regime to force it to accept a negotiated transition.
This does not mean U.S. boots on Syrian soil. It means enhanced sanctions on the Syrian regime and its backers; serious weapons and training for moderate opposition forces; and direct aid to the millions of Syrians in opposition-held areas who are denied access to food, water and medicine.
The Secretary-General today faulted the international community for failing to unite behind the Syrian people. But there are simple steps that the UN could take right now to relieve the widespread suffering in Syria.
First and foremost, the UN should use its legal mandate to provide cross-border aid to Syrians in need wherever they are, including in opposition-held areas. The Syrian Coalition and our partners on the ground, including the Free Syrian Army, have repeatedly communicated our willingness to support cross-border access in areas under our control. As soon as the UN agrees to provide aid, our forces will facilitate safe and secure access.
Second, the UN should demand accountability for mass crimes in Syria. Should a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) continue to be blocked, then the Secretary-General should call upon the UN General Assembly to take specific steps to establish justice and end impunity in Syria. No war criminal should be allowed to act with immunity.
Finally, the UN and the world must recognise that, as the growing bloodshed in Iraq demonstrates, the violence in Syria represents a threat not only to ordinary Syrians, but to international peace and security. A stable Syria—free of Assad’s tyranny and ISIS’s extremism—will bring stability to the region and security to our allies. The Syrian Coalition remains committed to achieving this goal.