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MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Promoting the search for ways to overcome the Syrian crisis was in the focus of the Russian diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and North Africa in 2015, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in a statement on the results of the outgoing year.
"The Russian diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and North Africa centred on promoting the search for a solution to the situation in Syria," the ministry said. "The international Syria Support Group was formed (in October) with the leading part of Russia and the clear-cut priorities were determined within its framework: uncompromising fight against terrorist groups and the parallel promotion of the political process with the participation of all Syrian political forces and ethnic and religious groups without exception."
According to the ministry, a significant step was the fixing of the reached agreements in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 of December 18 that contains a phased plan for a political settlement of the conflict on the basis of preserving the country’s unity and territorial integrity and confirmation of the key principle - Syria’s future must be determined by the Syrians themselves.
The assistance to Syria the population of which is suffering from armed conflicts is provided on the order of the Russian government. Over the past few years, the Russian Emergencies Ministry has delivered to Syria more than 560 tonnes of food, medicines and other essentials. The Emergencies Ministry aircraft have evacuated more than 1,400 citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other CIS countries and Europe from the armed conflict zone, the ministry said on Monday.
According to previous reports, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has authorized the allocation of up to $2 million in humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria under UN auspices. The relevant directive was posted on the government's legal information website in early November. According to the document, the one-time allocation is part of Russia's contribution to UN Development Program (UNDP) budget "for urgent support of the Syrian population."
Russia has sent some 100,000 tonnes of wheat as a humanitarian aid to Syria, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev told TASS on November 3. "Russia’s Unified Grain Company sent some 100,000 tonnes of soft red winter wheat [fourth-class wheat] from the intervention fund," Tkachev said. The Russian United Grain Company is a governmental organisation dealing with grain market.
Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on November 6 that "Next year we will make a plan for the provision of humanitarian aid in different countries including Syria, Yemen and Iraq." "This also applies to assistance in the event of natural disasters."
The UN Security Council on December 22 unanimously adopted Resolution 2258, which authorises continuation of operations to deliver humanitarian aid to conflict-affected regions of Syria directly from the territory of neighboring countries without securing preliminary consent of Damascus until January 10, 2017. The Russian deputy plenipotentiary representative to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, noted the document’s paragraph requesting from the UN Secretariat more detailed information on delivery of humanitarian aid in the trans-border regime. Safronkov said the Security Council finds insufficient "general data on the number of convoys with the approximate number of people in need." "We hope the latest reports by the secretary general will contain fuller and more detailed information," he said.
In addition, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, efforts have been taken in 2015 through bilateral channels, as well as at various international venues, primarily in the format of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators (Russia, the US, EU, UN), for the prevention of further deterioration of the Palestinian-Israeli relations, prevention of the escalation of violence and the creation of favourable conditions for restarting the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. "Particular attention was paid to the establishment to this end of the Quartet’s closer cooperation with the regional players, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia," the Foreign Ministry said.