Envoy to UN: Syrian crisis needs no military solutions

IRNA – Iran’s Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholamali Dehghani on Wednesday criticized a recent draft resolution on Syria referring to it as an “unconstructive” move that can undermine all efforts to end Syrian crisis through political solutions.

“Taking into account the realities on the ground in Syria and the timing of tabling this draft, there remains little doubt that the resolution seeks to further a political agenda under the disguise of the quest for justice,” Dehghani said while addressing the General Assembly on the Resolution entitled: ‘International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011’.

He said that the draft resolution failed ‘to address the root causes of the heinous Phenomenon of terrorism’ in Syria.

The full text of Dehghani’s statement follows:

Mr. President,
Allow me to start by extending our heart-felt condolences and solidarity to the people, Governments and the Permanent Missions of the Russian Federation and Germany in the wake of the two recent terrorist attacks in Ankara and Berlin. Unfortunately, hearing tragic news of terrorist incidents here and there in the world is becoming a horrible routine, indicating that the international community has a long way to go to address this evil phenomenon.

Mr. President,
The Syrian Arab Republic has suffered the most from the evil of terrorism during the past several years. The people and Government of Syria have paid a heavy toll in their fight against dark elements of violent extremism and terrorism, who are continued to be sponsored, armed and supported from outside the country.

It is incumbent upon the international community to support Syria during these difficult days in their fight against terrorism and extremism. It is also critical to take initiatives to end the conflict in order to start a Syrian led political reconciliation process as soon as possible.

Mr. President,
Unfortunately, the draft resolution under consideration today does exactly the opposite. We find the draft resolution to be an unconstructive move, on both legal and political grounds.

On the legal aspects, we regret to see that while PP1 and PP2 of the draft underline the Charter of the United Nations and sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, the resolution, in its entirety, is in violation of the Charter and the fundamental principle of state sovereignty.

According to the norms and principles of international law, enforcement of law and prosecution of criminals fall strictly within the domestic jurisdiction of states. However, this resolution is seeking to establish an international mechanism to (and I quote): ‘assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes under International Law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic’.

Needless to say that establishing such a mechanism, without the consent of the concerned state, would be in utter disregard to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic. As such, this initiative is also in violation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, including Article 2.7 by intervening in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of a UN Member State. In accordance with the same article of the Charter, the only exception to this rule would be the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter.
Also on the Political front, this resolution is not helpful for many reasons, including the following:

Taking into account the realities on the ground in Syria and the timing of tabling this draft, there remains little doubt that the resolution seeks to further a political agenda under the disguise of the quest for justice. It is quite noticeable that right after the retake of Eastern Aleppo by the Syrian Army from the terrorists, suddenly different initiatives with a clear political agenda have been pushed at different levels, including in this august assembly.

While there is a consensus at the international level that terrorism should be defeated, Iran has time and again reiterated that there can be no military solution to the situation in Syria, and that the people of Syria should decide themselves on their political future. As such, we have always adhered to a genuine, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned peace process in order to achieve peace and national reconciliation.

Any other efforts or initiatives should be in line with such a process and to help and expedite it. In this regard, the meeting held yesterday in Moscow among the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russian Federation and Iran is an example of how we all could help in a constructive way towards going back to that political process, including the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254.

However, this draft resolution before us today is not in the right direction, as it can undermine the efforts to foster a political solution to the crisis. By establishing an illegal investigation mechanism and introducing conditionality, this draft will serve no purpose other than creating impediments in the way towards achieving a political solution for the crisis.

The Islamic Republic of Iran vehemently upholds the principle of combating impunity and ensuring accountability. However, we should carefully avoid any politicization of this important principle. The international community should seek ending impunity everywhere in the world, including in the Occupied Palestinian territory, Yemen and all other territories that are facing foreign interventions and/or aggressions. As such, politicization, selectivity and application of double standards can be poisonous and will hamper ending impunity. The question to the sponsors of this draft is whether they are ready to combat impunity all over the world, or they choose to be selective when it comes to the impunity regarding most serious crimes?

Moreover, the draft resolution fails to address root causes of the heinous Phenomenon of terrorism in Syria and will only serve the impunity of those who have formed, financed, armed and ideologically nurtured terrorist groups and foreign terrorist fighters in Syria.

This resolution sets a dangerous precedent for politicizing combat against impunity for the sake of short-sighted political interests at the expense of ignoring well-established principles of international law and the Charter.

For those reasons, we will vote against this resolution, and we invite all Member States to consider doing the same.