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Russian ambassador to UN speaks at IDC Side Event on Syria

Date de publication: 14.06.2016


Statement by H.E. Mr. Alexey Borodavkin,

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation,

at the conference “Syria: Path to Peace”

Geneva, 17 June 2016


Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s indeed a pleasure for me to participate in the third meeting of the conference “Syria – the Path to Peace”. I thank the organizers for arranging it.

The situation in Syria is becoming more and more perilous. The Middle East – Syria, also Libya, Iraq, Yemen has fallen into the abyss of unprecedented cruelty. Gross violations of the right to life of people living in the region continue unabated, especially on the territories which are controlled by terrorist groups.

Today it is clear that the international community has to stand united in eradicating the menace of terrorism that comes from groups like ISIL or Jabhat an-Nusra and that constitute the major threat to human rights in the region.

Syria is bleeding. Terrorists from ISIL, Nusra and affiliated groups continue accumulating resources and manpower, turning large parts of the country into enclaves of brutal sectarianism. Those who don’t share their bigoted dogma are massacred. Dozens were brutally killed in Qalb Loze on 10 June 2015, in Hatla on 11 June 2013, in Aqrab on 11 December 2012. The latest mass atrocities were committed in May 2016 in an Alawite village of al-Zara where dozens of civilians were killed by Jabhat an-Nusra and affiliated groups who came from Rastan.

As we speak, the jihadists are using terrorist methods to try to eradicate Syria’s rich religious heritage. The unique cultural and religious fabric of the country, that had been intricately woven over centuries, is being torn apart by jihadists who deprive the whole communities of their basic rights. Those terrorist organizations aim not only to destroy the common cultural history of the country but to shape their own version of history, in which there is no place for equality and diversity.

As a result, there are almost no more Christians, Alawits, Yezidis, Druze, Assyrians or Shiites left in territories controlled by ISIL and Jabhat an-Nusra. Religious minorities are now looking for shelter in government-protected areas, where many Sunni refugees have also found asylum. 

Liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra by Syrian army with the help of Russian airspace forces was a remarkable symbolic step in wiping out terrorist threat and saving the county’s historical heritage.

Let us not forget that the historic diversity and dynamism of the Middle East gave rise to many of the world’s great civilizations and gave birth to three of its major religions. It was put under existential threat when the “Arab Spring” uprisings mutated into a “brutal winter” of sectarian skirmish. Syria is one of the most tragic examples.

From the beginning of the conflict Russia called upon solving it by political means through inter-Syrian inclusive dialogue.

But terrorists who hijacked “Arab Spring” popular movements created a vicious circle of perpetual violence. During the conflict in Syria terrorists were enjoying generous foreign support from some countries. Many others prefer to turn a blind eye to terrorist threat while pursuing policy of regime change. Today jihadists continue to receive support, including mercenaries and weapons, first and foremost through porous borders with Turkey.

My country will continue its efforts to stop the bloodshed in Syria and pave a way for peaceful prosperous and democratic future, where human rights of all communities and religious groups are protected and observed. However it is impossible without eliminating terrorist threat. A united front against ISIL and Jabha an-Nusra that should include the disruption of their financial and logistical support and the sharing of relevant information is crucial.

We have made a number of steps on the path to peace. Russia together with the United States is a guarantor of the cessation of hostilities in Syria. The Joint Russia-US initiative of May 2016 to stop fire in Syria saved many lives. We have spared no effort to support and facilitate inter-Syrian talks in Geneva. We have backed the mediation work by United Nations led by Staffan di Mistura. We have exercised our influence to keep the humanitarian assistance delivered to many parts of Syria and deliver it ourselves.

However, there is still a long way to go. Jabhat an-Nusra is the main threat to the cessation of hostilities, as it serves as an umbrella for other groups to conduct offensive operations against Syrian governmental forces. It is necessary to separate opposition armed groups from Jabhat an-Nusra, to put control on the Turkish-Syrian border, to stop illegal inflow of arms and terrorists into the war-ravaged Syrian territory, to build stability, dialogue and cooperation. That requires enormous effort from absolutely all stakeholders, especially – Syrian Government, moderate Syrian opposition, regional powers, Russia and
the USA, other States which have influence in Syria.

I hope that women and religious minorities will make a tangible contribution to this process.

I wish you fruitful deliberations.

Thank you.

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