Madam President, 

I would like to thank Special Envoy Pedersen and Under-Secretary General Griffith for their statements. My thoughts are once again with all the victims of the earthquake a year ago - I will come back to this when addressing the humanitarian situation.

On the security front, the situation continues to deteriorate throughout Syria, with increasingly violent hostilities. The attacks carried out by numerous state and non-state actors throughout the country bear witness to the ongoing spiral of regional violence. We call on all parties and those with influence over them to exercise maximum restraint. Any action must comply with international law, including international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. Switzerland calls for the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire in accordance with Resolution 2254. 

On the political front, we welcome the Special Envoy's tireless efforts to relaunch the process. His contacts with regional and international players are in line with the framework provided by the said resolution and its "step by step" approach. Switzerland remains ready to facilitate all types of talks and initiatives, including meetings of the Constitutional Committee, aimed at promoting a sustainable political solution under the aegis of the UN. 

At every stage, it remains essential to listen to civil society. Switzerland welcomes the recent meeting of the Civil Society Support Platform and the Women's Consultative Council in Geneva. As forums for inclusive dialogue, these platforms are an essential means of bringing the voice of Syrians to the international stage. We also welcome their work to identify a common approach to issues such as local governance and decentralisation. The fruits of these efforts constitute entry points for the political process in Syria.

We also recall the importance of the fight against impunity and the work of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism in this respect.

As humanitarian penholder for Syria, I would now like to turn to the humanitarian situation. We remain concerned about the humanitarian needs, which continue to grow. According to the United Nations, in 2024, 16.7 million people in Syria are in need humanitarian aid, 45% of whom are children. It is worrying that, at the same time, funding is falling dramatically and humanitarian organisations are being forced to reduce or even suspend their operations. 

Syrian children are paying a particularly heavy price in this conflict, which has been going on for almost thirteen years. A generation is growing up with no memory of a time without conflict. 2.4 million children of school age are not attending school, severely affecting their future opportunities. Children are particularly vulnerable to a multitude of risks, including child labour, early and forced marriage and human trafficking. They continue to be at risk of recruitment and victims of fighting and their schools continue to be attacked. We call on all parties to do everything in their power to protect children and put an end to these grave violations. 

In Syria today, a third of schools have been destroyed in the fighting, damaged by earthquakes or used as shelters for displaced people. In this respect, early recovery projects are essential to restore access to basic services in Syria, including education.

Madam President,

Given the scale of the needs, it is crucial that the Council keeps a close eye on these developments. In this respect, it is to be welcomed that the authorisation for the Bab al-Salam and Al Ra'ee crossing points has been extended beyond 13 February. However, humanitarian actors need greater predictability to plan their activities, especially as resources become increasingly scarce. Humanitarian access must not be limited in time. All aid modalities - including cross-border aid and aid delivered across the front lines - are necessary. We recall that allowing and facilitating the passage of humanitarian aid is an obligation under international humanitarian law.

Finally, I would like to reiterate that it is our responsibility as a Council to put in place the political and security framework provided for in Resolution 2254, so that humanitarian actors can work effectively and without hindrance. For this to happen, and for real progress to be made towards a political solution, all parties must resume constructive dialogue.

I thank you.

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