General Assembly Security Council

UNSC briefing/consultations on Syria-Political

[15 March 2021; 1000 hrs]


Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Thank you, Madam President.


Let me begin by thanking Special Envoy Mr. Geir Pedersen for his briefing on the recent developments in Syria. He has traveled to Damascus, as well as to Moscow and Sochi and held meetings with important stakeholders. I thank him for his candid views reflecting the current state of play and his assessment of the situation. It is indeed disheartening that as we approach the 10th year of conflict in Syria, peace and stability unfortunately remain elusive to the country and its people.


2. The political transition in Syria facilitated by the UN is not an exclusive process. The five rounds of meetings of the drafting body of the Syrian constitutional committee have resulted in very little progress. External influence is also adversely impacting the process.



3. The situation on the ground does not present an optimistic picture either.   It will be unrealistic to expect any dramatic outcomes in the near future, unless the international community takes decisive collective steps in the right direction and bridge differences.  If we are serious about achieving progress, we need to have greater convergence of views and act to strengthen the hands of the Special Envoy.


4. Constructive international diplomacy is the need of the hour to bridge existing divides by focusing on mutual and reciprocal steps.  We believe that delinking the humanitarian and developmental work with progress on the political track will help in creating a conducive environment of trust and confidence. We welcome the 15th round of the International Meeting of the Astana process held last month in Sochi. We call on all parties to the conflict to show political will and statesmanship to break the current impasse in the working of the Constitutional Committee.


5. The Syrian conflict and involvement of external actors has contributed to the growth of terrorism in Syria and in its neighbouring countries. This has been reiterated in the latest report of the Secretary General on the threat posed by ISIL.  We express our serious concern with the increased presence and terrorist activity of “Hayat Tahrir alSham” and other affiliated terrorist groups that pose a threat to civilians inside and outside the Idlib de-escalation area. It is imperative that all parties adhere to their international obligations to fight terrorism and terrorist organizations in Syria, as designated by the Security Council.


6. India firmly believes that long-term security and stability in this region, can only be achieved by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We also remain convinced that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and reaffirm our commitment to advancing a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.


7. Madam President, the 10-year long Syrian conflict has brought untold suffering to the Syrian people.  The covid-19 pandemic has further compounded the situation, posing serious challenges to the fragile health infrastructure. There is an urgent need to increase humanitarian assistance to all Syrians throughout the country without discrimination, politicization, and any preconditions. The humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, calls for relaxation of sanctions imposed on Syria. The international community must act with a sense of urgency to help the Syrian people.


8. We remain convinced that all efforts towards improving the humanitarian situation in Syria, will positively impact the political track as well. We call upon the wider UN system, in particular the WHO and OCHA, to prioritize the vaccination programme in Syria, including through the COVAX initiative.


9. As we have mentioned in our earlier statements on Syria, India has extended developmental assistance and human resource development support to Syria regularly. These include lines of credits for developmental projects, supply of medicine and food, artificial limb fitment camp and capacity building training programmes for Syrian nationals. We reiterate our commitment to continue these initiatives, in support of people of Syria.


10. Finally, on this tenth anniversary of the conflict, let us reaffirm our resolve to help the people of Syria. India stands ready to continue to render all possible help and support to the Syrian people.


I thank you Madam President.