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Security Council authorizes UN, partners to use most direct routes for Syria aid delivery

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info, with agencies - July 15, 2014, 08h16
A picture taken in the besieged Yarmouk camp in Damascus, where people are starving. - Photo: United Nations News Service
Deploring the fact that previous demands for aid access in Syria had not been heeded, the Security Council on Monday authorized — for 180 days — relief delivery “across conflict lines” and through additional border crossings, as well as the expeditious deployment of a monitoring mechanism to assure compliance.
The resolution 2165 (2014) was unanimously approved by the U.N. Security Council's members, including Russia and China. The two allies of Damascus had previously vetoed four UN resolutions, including ones that adressed the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Monday's resolution authorizes cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians in areas in desperate need of food and medicine, without government approval.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2165 (2014), the 15-member body decided that United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners could, with notification to the Syrian authorities, use the border crossings at Bab al-Salam, Bab al-Hawa, Al Yarubiyah and Al-Ramtha in addition to those already in use, “to ensure that assistance, including medical and surgical supplies, reached people in need throughout Syria through the most direct routes”.

The new mechanism, the Council decided, would be under the authority of the Secretary-General, and monitor, with the consent of neighbouring countries and notification by the United Nations to the Syrian authorities, the loading of all humanitarian relief consignments.

In a related provision, the Council reaffirmed that all Syrian parties to the conflict must ensure the safety and security of personnel of the United Nations and its humanitarian partners, “without prejudice to their freedom of movement and access”, and reiterated its views on the importance of humanitarian ceasefires and a political solution to the Syria crisis.

It finally affirmed that it “will take further measures” in the event of non-compliance with this resolution or resolution 2139 (2014) by any Syrian party. It noted that the number of people in need of assistance had grown to over 10 million, including 6.4 million internally displaced persons and more than 4.5 million living in hard-to-reach areas, and that over 240,000 were trapped in besieged areas, according to the Secretary-General.

In explanations following the vote, Council members welcomed the consensus found by the Council and hoped that it could provide a model for the kind of cooperation needed to support the new Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, in fostering inclusive political dialogue to finally put an end to the suffering.

Representatives of co-sponsors Jordan, Luxembourg and Australia, said they had searched for the best ways to ensure humanitarian access given the non-compliance with previous resolutions and to avoid undue obstruction by the Syrian Government, particularly in regard to medical supplies. “It is time for the Syrian parties to put the interest of the citizens first,” the Australian representative said, adding that he was under no illusions, however, that implementation would be easy.

The representative of the United States said that the Council must be ready to act decisively in the event of non-compliance with the resolution, given the experience with resolution 2139 (2014). However, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed there was no trigger in the text for the use of force in the event of non-compliance and said that the text reflected his country’s concerns for the respect of Syrian sovereignty, as well as recognized Syrian efforts to cooperate with humanitarian aid delivery.

Syria’s representative also stressed his Government’s cooperation with the international community to provide aid to people in need in his country. He said the suffering was being caused by terrorists who were in turn being supported by others in the international community. He called for an end to that support.
Tags
#UN, #United_Nations, #Security_council, #Syria, #Resolution
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