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30 June 2011 - Security Council - Syria / Israel - UNDOF - Adoption of resolution 1994 - Explanation of Vote by Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations



Mr. President,

The Security Council reaffirms its support for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. The resolution adopted today differs markedly however to previous ones in response to the extremely troubling developments in the situation in the Golan Heights.

The ceasefire line between Israel and Syria has been the most stable border line in the region since 1974 and the agreement on disengagement. However, major incidents, taking place one after the other on May 15 and June 5, have placed the ceasefire observed since 1973 in jeopardy and called the stability and security of the region into question.

This Council therefore recalls today on the parties of their obligations to fully respect the 1974 agreement and the Council’s resolutions. These commitments notably involve preventing violations of the ceasefire lines and the area of separation. The violations that occurred on May 15 and June 5 on the Syrian side demonstrate that these obligations have not been fulfilled by the Syrian authorities. It also recalls the necessity for the parties to exercise utmost restraint and France strongly deplores the numerous victims that have resulted from these serious incidents.

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force’s movements have been hampered and it has been attacked on the Syrian side; this is unacceptable. Let me remind that full freedom of movement of the UN force is a fundamental element for the deployment of a peacekeeping operation, as a corollary of consent of the State to accept a deployment on its territory.

This is the message sent by this resolution, which marks the Council’s deep concern given the potential for regional instability resulting from the incidents in the Golan Heights.

The root cause of these incidents is clear. The Secretary-General’s report is indicative of this: the Palestinian demonstrators who broke in the area of separation have benefited from the laissez-faire approach, if not assistance, of the Syrian authorities which, however, have an obligation to ensure the enforcement of the ceasefire by preventing violations of the line and area of separation. Violations of the area of separation were witnessed by the Syrian security forces, whose report indicates that they "monitored" the demonstrators.

No one is trying to deny the legitimacy of the Palestinian aspirations to achieve a sovereign, independent and viable State, living in peace alongside Israel. France continuously encourages the resumption of negotiations to that end.

What the Council cannot accept is the hypocritical exploitation of the aspirations of the Palestinian people by the Syrian regime and the resulting threat to regional stability. The incidents of May 15 and June 5 tragically represent the attempts of the Syrian regime to divert international attention away from the aspirations of its own people on whom it is inflicting a bloody crackdown.

Let’s be absolutely clear: no attempt to destabilize the region will divert our attention from the brutal and systematic crackdown being inflicted on the peaceful demonstrators in Syria.

To the contrary, these acts, which jeopardize peace and international security, strengthen our determination to ensure that the Council expresses an opinion on the Syrian situation. Syria’s stability is critical to a Middle East whose weaknesses are all too familiar to the Security Council. And this stability can only be achieved through the cessation of violence against peaceful demonstrators and the effective implementation of reforms that respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to take control of their own destiny.

Last week, the Secretary-General urged the Security Council to overcome its differences and to send this clear message to the Syrian authorities. The resolution that the Council has just adopted unanimously demonstrates that the Council is still able to respond when international peace and security are at stake. We must draw all the appropriate conclusions and respond to the Secretary-General’s appeal by working to adopt a resolution that would convey to the Syrian authorities the only message capable of preserving the peace and security for which this Council is responsible.

Thank you.


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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU