Statement by the Representative of Portugal, H. E. Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral, at the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East (New York, 04.27.2011)
Thank you Mr. President,
I want to thank Under Secretary General Lynn Pascoe for his briefing.
Dramatic events in the region are quickly changing the face of the Middle East. Like elsewhere in the region, people in Syria are demanding freedom, democracy and reform. The one and only way to respond to such legitimate aspirations is through genuine and inclusive dialogue. Violence and repression can never be the answer.
Portugal is gravely concerned about the situation in Syria and the increasing levels of violence resulting in hundreds of deaths and injured. We extend our condolences to the families of all victims. We strongly condemn the violence against peaceful demonstrators and call for an immediate end to the violence and for those responsible to be held accountable. We also support the Secretary General’s call for an independent, transparent and effective investigation into the killings.
Portugal takes note of the Syrian Government’s decision to lift the state of emergency and of the laws introduced over the past few days, and the announced intention to proceed with political reform. These measures and intentions must nevertheless be credible, carried out in a credible way and translate into real improvements and effective reform.
Syrian authorities have an obligation to respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as the freedom of the press, and to respect the integrity and dignity of arrested persons and their right to due legal process.
My country is mindful of Syria’s critical importance to the peace and security of the Middle East. We also remain fully committed to the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.
Portugal welcomes and supports the statement by the Arab League General Secretariat on the current developments in an increasing number of Arab cities, its appeal to governments to commit to and immediately implement reform, as well as the forthcoming meeting of the League’s Foreign Ministers.
Portugal calls once again upon the Government of Syria to show all possible restraint and to ensure the protection of its citizens. We urge all parties in Syria to engage in a genuine, comprehensive and inclusive dialogue and to embark on a participatory and sustainable reform process.
I thank you Sir.