UN Aid Chief Seeks Action On Syria Aid Access

Syria aid

The United Nations aid chief has demanded stronger action by the UN Security Council to get desperately needed aid into Syria, where 2.5 million people in need have not received help for almost a year.

Valerie Amos, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, called upon members of the Council on Friday “to exert influence and take the necessary action to stop this brutality and violence”.

“This is a race against time. Three weeks have passed since the adoption of this Council’s statement with little change to report,” Amos told the Security Council. “As we deliberate, people continue to die unnecessarily.”

Violence and excessive red tape have slowed aid delivery in Syria, where more than 100,000 people have been killed in the two-and-a-half-year civil war and about 2.1 million have fled.

After months of talks, the 15-member Security Council approved a non-binding statement October 2, urging increased humanitarian access.

The Security Council adopted the statement on humanitarian access less than a week after overcoming a long diplomatic impasse between Russia and Western countries to pass a resolution to rid Syria of chemical arms.

Senior UN diplomats said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had at the time dismissed the possibility of a legally binding resolution on aid access.

British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said after the briefing by Amos on Friday that “if the (aid statement) is not being taken seriously, then obviously it behooves us to look at stronger vehicles, including a resolution”.

Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions since October 2011 that would have condemned the government and threatened it with sanctions.

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