Editor’s Note: This post has been updated.
There’s been a lot happening in the debate over the response to Syria’s horrific chemical weapons attack, and I wanted to make sure you knew the latest.
In last night’s address to the nation, President Obama said:
“I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas — from Asia to the Middle East — who agree on the need for action.”
All this will not solve Syria’s two-year civil war, but it’s an encouraging step as diplomacy remains one of the best tools in our foreign policy tool box. And while there are many negotiations and discussions that will need to take place before a viable deal could come together, this is exactly what the UN is for, and it’s why we need it so much.
It’s also important to remember that the UN has been on the ground in Syria, and in neighboring refugee communities, from the very beginning of this devastating conflict. Regardless of what happens next, the tragic reality is more than 100,000 people have already lost their lives, and millions have been forced to flee their homes, over these past two very long years.
From the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), from the World Health Organization to the World Food Program, the UN has and will continue to provide shelter, food, water, education, and health care to the more than 2 million Syrian refugees – half of them children.
So while the critical debate around the international response continues, let’s not forget about the millions of people who are still depending on the UN’s life-saving humanitarian work in Syria.