Venerdì, 18 Ottobre 2019
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Comunicato stampa Vice Inviato Speciale ONU Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy e Consigliere Speciale ONU per la Siria Jan Egeland


23 sett - Trascrizione del comunicato stampa congiunto del Vice Inviato Speciale ONU per la Siria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy e del Consigliere Speciale ONU per la Siria Jan Egeland: 

RER: Good afternoon.  This has been a particularly grim week, but also eventful.  There has been considerable loss of life in Syria, in Urum al-Kubra, in Khan Tuman and in Deir ez-Zor.  Urum al-Kubra and Khan Tuman are particularly despicable acts.  Many have died who have devoted themselves to help the Syrian people in their difficult times, deserves the strongest condemnations, the Secretary-General has made it clear in the Security Council yesterday that this will be investigated, and he is looking into ways how this will be implemented as soon as possible.  

Against this grim background, there has been other developments in New York, I was just there, just arrived this morning.  There was an ISSG meeting, as you know, earlier and there will be another one this afternoon.  There was also a Security Council meeting in which both the Secretary-General and the Special Envoy spoke.

I would like to convey to you the feeling that existed in the ISSG, it is clear that the co-chairs are determined to make their agreement work.  That is very clear.  The Security Council also, all the members, who spoke there, some of them at the head of state level, gave their support to the efforts of the co-chairs and expressed their determination to help them in discharging their duties.  

So, today is going to be an important day in New York that could very well influence how things are going to proceed.  As you know the Secretary-General, and I am sure you are aware of what he had said, he has instructed the Special Envoy to prepare a proposal for a framework that would be a starting point for the negotiations amongst the Syrian parties.  The Special Envoy, on his part, did indicate quite clearly that he will engage the Syrian parties, shortly, actually immediately, and prepare for the talks with the view to charging such a path towards direct negotiations.  OSE will embark immediately on this process with the view of holding these talks, hopefully, the next few weeks.  

This is where the situation is right now, grim picture on the ground in terms of humanitarian aid but also in terms of the cessation of hostilities but at the same time a determination by the ISSG and particularly the co-chairs, to make things work and to jumpstart the political process.

Over to you Jan.

JE: Thank you Ramzy.  The devastating sustained attack at our convoy in Big Urem (Urum al-Kubra) outside of Aleppo this Monday is the worst attack ever sustained on a UN cross-line, cross-border convoy.  There have been hundreds of such convoys and what this attack really means is that there is now a tremendous cloud over the whole de-confliction and notification system that is the precondition for a lifeline to millions of people.  

If a convoy that was notified in detail, well in time, where it would go, when it would go, how it would load, where it would stay, where it would end, where it would unload, what was inside, if such a convoy can be, apparently, attacked, how can humanitarian workers believe that they can continue their sacred service to the civilians?

So, a message to the co-chairs, Russia and the United States, and all of the members of this task force, and of course here are also the regional powers in this area, is that we need a reboot, we need a restart for security assurances, guarantees for the humanitarian lifeline.

We hope that this can be a turning point.  It is indeed a fork in the road, it should be a turning point to something much better and not to something even much worse.  One of the challenges we came with today is, to all of these countries, can they please come back with one battalion, one leader, one minister, one armed opposition group that is spending half as much time for one week in enabling access to civilians on the other side as they are to try to kill and fight the armed men on the other side.  The whole purpose is to enable help to civilians across front lines, and in cross fire, that's the whole purpose of humanitarian law, that's the whole purpose of our mission.

We also need a reboot, really, for the procedures in Syria.  They should have become easier, they have become more complicated. For weeks, not a single convoy; and part of it was this endless bureaucracy and the endless negotiations with whoever is in charge, militarily and politically.

Now, that will change, there is also good news, I think it will change.  Today we hope to enter Moadamieh, very important town, where people have been suffering for very long and where they feel squeezed by all armed actors.  We hope to be there today, but we also hope in the next days really, to be able to go to all of the Four Towns, including Madaya, and you know Madaya is a place where people have been starving and where there was meningitis epidemic.  We are loading, we hope to go soon. We hope to go Al-Waer, for the civilian population there.  We hope to go to a number of other besieged areas in the coming days, because we seem to now be getting the permits and the support we need.

So let this be a turning point, let this be the bleakest moment and let’s hope we have passed it.

Thank you.

Q. In an interview with the Associated Press, President Bashaar Assad is denying US accusations that Syrian or Russian planes struck an aid convoy in Aleppo and that his troops were preventing food from entering cities in the eastern held neighborhoods, he denies that Aleppo is under siege, does the UN believe that the airstrikes were responsible for this attack and what do you say to his insistence that the government is not blocking food from entering eastern Aleppo and particularly his denial of the siege on Aleppo?

JE: We have asked for an independent investigation on what happened in Big Urem (Urum al-Kubra), Aleppo district, that an independent investigation should not be done by anyone who have military roles or stakes in this conflict and we owe it to those who died and those who were wounded that such an independent investigation happens.  We were not there as UN, we were not allowed in, as has happened a number of times, to go into Big Urem (Urum al-Kubra) at the last stage, at that point by government, later we were not allowed to go in by armed opposition groups to help retrieve the drivers from the area.  The east Aleppo is militarily encircled, it is impossible to get in with our aid.  Forty trucks are sitting at the Turkish-Syrian border, the food will be expiring on Monday [Clarification: the food is fit for consumption for some months], and the drivers are sleeping at the border and had done so now for a week.  So please, President Assad, do your bit to enable us to get to eastern Aleppo and also the other besieged areas. We also have to get assurances on the east Aleppo case from the armed opposition groups to be able to enter.

Can I also say that there were no warnings from any armed opposition group that reached the UN in relation to going to Big Urem (Urum al-Kubra), there was none.

Q. (inaudible)

JE: The UN has not said that air strikes were responsible, the UN has said that we were not there and that we need an independent investigation, but we have said that there were sustained attacks of violence and we were not able to get into the place to help the poor drivers or  SARC relief workers.

Q: For Mr. Ramzy: You mentioned about the hope for restarting the peace talks within the few weeks, the way it looks in the Security Council things were on a knife-edge, are you basically hoping that today’s ISSG meeting will end with all parties coming out and giving a renewed thumbs up to the US-Russian deal, perhaps with enhanced conditions which will allow things to proceed down that road, and if they do not come out of that ISSG meeting with a clear backing for that deal being revamped, rebooted, reinvigorated, does that mean that peace talks are basically dead?

RER: We will never give up on the political process and the talks.  You are correct, we are hoping today that the ISSG will help the co-chairs in discharging the responsibilities they took upon themselves, it was clear both in the meeting on Tuesday of the ISSG as well as in the Security Council that the co-chairs are determined to make the agreement work, and they have the support of the members of the Security Council, that was absolutely clear, and hopefully today this will be reflected in the deliberations of the ISSG.  Clearly the resumption of the talks would be greatly helped by revitalizing the cessation of hostilities and I think that is a possibility and is actually the objective of the meeting of the ISSG, so let us wait and see; we have few more hours and I guess from New York we will be getting the word.

Q. I have a question for Mr. Ramzy.  Mr. de Mistura two days ago in New York he said exactly after the attack on the convoys the rules of the game has changed, what does it mean that the rules of the game changed? And what were the rules before and what are the rules now?

RER: Well, clearly if a humanitarian convoy is subject to a deliberate attack that is a very very grave development.  As we said, we do not know exactly what happened, we have to investigate but regardless of who is responsible for it, this has to come to an end.  We hope that if this has happened, it will never happen again, and we hope that that can be done.  

Mr. de Mistura was trying to point out that any continuation of such actions will have detrimental effects on the political process which we are committed to and we hope to revive as soon as possible, as I had indicated earlier, that Mr. de Mistura in the Security Council made it very clear that we will immediately embark on consultations with the parties so that we will be able to be in a position to resume the talks based on a framework that we are going to propose.

Q. Mr. Ramzy, I repeat maybe the question for my colleague, about the attack against the Red Crescent Convoy, the final story for the United Nations: it was an air strike attack or a ground attack?

RER: Well, I think I will repeat what Mr. Egeland said and what I have said earlier, there will be an investigation, and we are looking forward.  We are not in a position today to say what happened, that is very clear.  We haven’t confirmed either, clearly something has gone wrong, people have lost lives, but what exactly happened, is going to be a matter of investigation.  

Q. (inaudible)

RER: The official position of the UN as annunciated by the Secretary-General that this is going to be subject to investigation.

Thank you.      


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