MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS,The Hon Julie Bishop MP
UN Security Council Presidential Statement on Humanitarian Assistance to Syria
3 October 2013
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop today welcomed the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a Presidential Statement on Syria. This joint initiative by Australia and Luxembourg calls for the urgent, safe and unhindered delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.
The Security Council’s statement outlines specific and practical measures to assist the delivery of aid to those in need - wherever they are in Syria, without delay.
The statement also calls for the Syrian authorities to facilitate expanded humanitarian relief operations, and to lift bureaucratic and other obstacles that are impeding humanitarian efforts.
These measures would enable humanitarian agencies to increase their operations to meet ever-growing needs.
“Today’s Security Council statement delivers a strong, unified message that all parties in Syria must urgently allow the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies to deliver life-saving assistance to the Syrian people,” Ms Bishop said.
The scale of the humanitarian crisis in Syria is devastating. The conflict has displaced one-third of the Syrian population, including more than two million people who have sought refuge in in neighbouring countries. Nearly seven million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Ms Bishop added that while it was imperative to address the humanitarian situation, the only solution to the conflict would be a political one. The Minister urged all parties to support the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to convene talks on a political transition in mid-November.
This statement follows the adoption of Resolution 2118, which calls for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons program.
Australia has provided $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Syria since March 2011 and is one of the top ten international donors since the crisis began.