UN Security Council: Syria - Explanation of vote on draft resolution put forward by France and Spain. As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 8 October 2016.

Thank you for giving me the floor Mr President. 

The situation in Aleppo is devastating, as Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura made very clear to us yesterday.  He warned us we face a situation not dissimilar to those in Rwanda and Srebrenica, atrocities this Council signally failed to prevent.  We must learn our lessons.  We must stop the destruction of the entire city of eastern Aleppo.

Terrorism is a scourge to the world, but it is not acceptable that Russia and Syria use counterterrorism as a pretext for a large-scale bombing campaign for which civilians are paying the greatest price.  Whatever the sins of the hundreds or thousand-plus terrorists in eastern Aleppo, that cannot justify a prolonged bombardment of 275,000 civilians.

We had hoped that the Council would have been able to come together on a text which all parties could accept and which could stand a chance of contributing to practical and constructive action on the ground.

The failure of today's resolution contributes to the polarised dynamic on Syria among the major powers and undermines the credibility of the Security Council.

Given the recent breakdown of the cessation of hostilities and the curtailing of diplomatic efforts by the United States and Russia, it is vital to use all multilateral channels, particularly this Council, to move the parties away from the killing and back towards the negotiating table and in the meantime to spare the Syrian people and allow them the humanitarian assistance they so desperately need. The Security Council has a special responsibility.  We will continue to talk with other Council members to explore what action might be possible in coming days.

I thank you.