As delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 31 December 2016.

Thank you Mr President. 

New Zealand welcomes the efforts of Russia, Turkey and others to reduce the level of fighting in Syria. 

We also welcome the efforts of the presidency, Russia and Turkey again, and all other Council members who worked for the adoption of a resolution all Council members could support. 

This is a demonstration of what the Council can do when we turn our collective minds to achieving a positive outcome. 

We are very pleased therefore, the Council could put its weight behind a measure designed to reduce civilian suffering in Syria and restart the political process. 

As others have said, there are aspects of the ceasefire and the agreement that need to be clarified. 

In particular, there are uncertainties around participation of opposition groups in the ceasefire and in the Astana talks. Also, the implications for groups not participating needs to be clarified. 

New Zealand would also welcome greater clarity about humanitarian access and about the United Nations role in the Astana political process. 

That said, we are pleased Council could come together to support this important development. 

Mr President, 

New Zealand's term on the Security Council will end very soon. We hope that further clarity will be provided and this agreement will alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and help get Syria on a path to a lasting and enduring peace. 

Since this is, I hope, the last time we will be addressing the Council in our current term, I wish to conclude by commending the Spanish Presidency for their outstanding leadership over the last month and thank all our colleagues and the Secretariat for the courtesy and cooperation they have extended to me and my delegation for the past two years.