Let me thank DSG Jan Eliasson and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres for their briefings and France for convening today's debate. Let me also welcome all the Honourable Ministers who have joined us this afternoon.
The large number of people displaced from their homes and those who have taken refuge in the neighbouring countries indicates how the continued crisis in Syria is exacting a heavy toll on the civilian population. We commend the efforts by the neighbouring countries including Turkey, Jordon, Iraq and Lebanon in providing humanitarian assistance and shelter to the displaced people. Being host to millions of Afghan refugees for decades, Pakistan is no stranger to the magnitude of the responsibility that such situations entail. The need for wholehearted support of the international community is clear.
The initial joint needs assessment carried out by the United Nations, the OIC and the Syrian Government had kindled optimism that things might start moving in the right direction. However, subsequent developments have dashed all such hopes. We urge all parties to the conflict to ensure availability of humanitarian relief particularly to those in urgent need.
The current humanitarian crisis in Syria cannot be addressed in isolation. It needs to be considered in a holistic manner. Resolution of disputes through violence is against the very ideals that the United Nations espouses. Political differences should be resolved through inclusive dialogue with the participation of all protagonists.
Syrian people have suffered enough. Bloodshed in Syria must come to an immediate end. We strongly condemn the use of force by all sides in Syria. The Syrian people need political space to regain societal equilibrium which is so essential for peace building.
The primary responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of Syrian people rests with the Syrian Government. We call upon the Syrian Government to make sure that rights of all its citizens are protected in conformity with its national and international obligations. The Syrian opposition should also abjure the use of force.
It is essential that the Syrian Government and other forces create conditions necessary for national dialogue and reconciliation. It is only through inclusive dialogue and a political process that Syria can chart out a course towards a stable, secure and prosperous future. Irresponsible and indiscriminate use of arms, by whomsoever, must cease forthwith.
Regrettably, efforts by the international community have so far not borne fruit as violence continues to escalate. There is a need for creative thinking and a departure from stated positions. We still feel that the six-point plan presented by outgoing Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan offered the best possible solution to end fratricidal conflict in Syria. We reiterate our call on the Council to send a united message to all parties for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Syria.
We welcome the appointment of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi. He would need our full support for a successful conclusion of his mission to bring an amicable end to killings and violence in Syria. We urge all parties, in and outside Syria, to cooperate with the Joint Special Representative for the success of his mission. An international community, working with unity and clarity of purpose, is the only hope for the people of Syria. Our ultimate objective remains a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political solution, without outside interference.
The ongoing crisis in Syria should not distract the international community’s attention from the unresolved Palestinian issue which remains at the heart of tension and conflict in the Middle Eastern region. Pakistan condemns illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands and efforts to change the Arab character of the Holy land. Pakistan supports the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self determination and the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state on Palestinian lands with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital.
To conclude, let me reiterate that we remain committed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria and would continue to support the efforts of the Joint Special Representative in this regard. We feel that the revival of efforts aimed at a political settlement is the need of the hour. The Six Point Plan and the Final Communiqué of the Meeting of Action Group on Syria provide a sound basis, and the international community should work to build upon them in a constructive spirit.
I thank you.