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Russia urges patrons of Syrian opposition to convince it to lift impediments to aid

January 14, 2014, 6:30 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier the Syrian government was ready to let humanitarian convoys to Yarmouk and Barza
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© EPA/JUSTIN LANE

UNITED NATIONS, January 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Countries having a share of influence on the Syrian opposition forces should convince them to lift impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population affected by the dragged-out conflict in that country, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told Itar-Tass.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier the Syrian government was ready to let humanitarian convoys to Yarmouk and Barza and to coordinate with opposition groupings the deliveries of relief supplies to East Guta and a number of other localities around the Syrian capital.

“Very intense but knotty work on the issue is underway because the problem is the opposition sometimes doesn’t give consent to the passage of humanitarian convoys while the government gives the go-ahead to the deliveries,” Churkin said. “It’s important for the countries having influence on the opposition to reach agreement with the opposition so that it wouldn’t impede the deliveries of aid.”

He recalled that the problem of humanitarian access in Syria is a matter of permanent concern of the UN Security Council and is discussed at briefings, in which UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos takes part.

“This is discussed at the so-called high-level group set up in Geneva for the solution of humanitarian issues, as well as along bilateral channels,” Churkin said.

Valerie Amos visited Damascus over the weekend where she discussed plans for a buildup of humanitarian operations in Syria in 2014. On Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said more than nine million Syrians were experiencing dire need for foodstuffs, medicines, and other prime necessities at the moment.

More than 2.2 million Syrians have fled their homeland for the neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, as well as to Egypt. Forecasts indicate the number of Syrian refugees may exceed 4 million by the end of 2014.

A second international conference on contributions to humanitarian operations in Syria is due to open in Kuwait City January 15. UN assessments suggest more than $ 6.5 billion will be needed to cover the costs of these operations.

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