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The Saudi ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and the head of the Mission to the EU, H.E. Mr Abdulrahman S. Alahmed, today represented the Kingdom at the international conference for the future of Syria and the surrounding region.

Hoping for a productive exchange, Ambassador Alahmed reasserted the Kingdom’s position that the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, its security and military institutions must be preserved.

The government of my country has, since the beginning of the conflict, sought to forge the peaceful solutions necessary for Syria’s future, and has cooperated with other partners and allies to avoid the human tragedy we are currently witnessing.”

Mr Alahmed recalled the success of the 2015 conference in Riyadh where the Syrian Supreme Commission of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces – the representative body entrusted with negotiating in the name of the Syrian Opposition – was established. The body, welcomed both regionally and internationally “has since served as a negotiation reference in all rounds held since that date. The body still participates in negotiations, and has demonstrated genuine efforts to be cooperative and flexible, as witnessed by all parties-“ This is in spite of the intransigence of the Assad regime and its allies, who have exploited the negotiations in order to carry out further crimes against the Syrian people.

The Ambassador underlined the Kingdom’s support for the efforts of the Special Envoy of the United Nations General Secretary Mr Staffan De Mistura and his efforts to find a political and peaceful solution that excludes Bashar al Assad. “The Kingdom supports his efforts to advance the negotiation process between the Syrian parties in Geneva and progress towards solutions based upon the first Geneva Convention, UN resolution 2254 and the other international resolutions.” He called on all parties to abide by international law and agreement on respecting ceasefires, delivering humanitarian aid and releasing detainees and abductees held by the regime and its militias.

Mr Alahmed renewed Saudi Arabia’s calls on the international community to stand firmly against the interference of Iranian militia and their efforts to impose demographic change, sectarianism and ethnic cleansing in Syria, including the forced displacement of people in the pursuit of such in some areas of the country.

Saudi Arabia, he said “affirms the importance of imposing sanctions on the perpetrators of war crimes in Syria, and in this regard, praises the UN General Assembly’s resolution 2332 issued on 22 December 2016, calling for the establishment of a retribution mechanism for war crimes in Syria, which should be activated promptly.”

The Saudi Ambassador referred to the Kingdom’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrians both through substantial humanitarian aid and relief, as well as welcoming 2.5 million Syrian refugees as Saudi citizens with access to medical and educational services and the ability to take up jobs.

Substantial humanitarian aid and relief were offered either through donor’s conferences, or by national campaign programs to support our brothers in Syria, or through the “King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.” Many of these programs are still active both in Syria and in the neighbouring countries (Turkey – Jordan – Lebanon). The total value of Saudi humanitarian aid and relief has reached over 780 million US Dollars in addition to the commitments taken through donors’ conferences.”

Ambassador Alahmed

H.E. the Ambassador concluded that “It is wrong to downplay the Syrian crisis in terms of its human suffering. The extent of pain, grief and tragedy is unprecedented. Yet, perhaps the ugliest aspect of the war is the survival of the Syrian regime and its persistence in its criminal approach. Indeed, only hours ago, the news circulated that the regime was using Sarin gas in the countryside of Idlib in a new criminal move showing the indifference of this regime to international decisions and demands.”