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Russia, US realise humanitarian situation in Syria cannot be precondition for Geneva II

January 13, 2014, 18:20 UTC+3 PARIS
Lavrov: at this stage the key task is to satisfy the needs of the suffering population and not to discuss the consequences
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© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

PARIS, January 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and the United States realise that the humanitarian situation in Syria cannot be a precondition for convening the Geneva II Peace Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N./LAS Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday.

“We work hard to expand humanitarian access to the areas, which are blocked now by the government and the opposition,” the Russian minister said.

The Syrian government said it was ready “to deliver humanitarian cargoes to Yarmouk and coordinate humanitarian supplies to the areas of Eastern Ghouta and other suburbs of Damascus jointly with the opposition and under the auspices of Russia, the United States and the ICRC (International Committee for the Red Cross)”, he said.

“We wait for such gestures from the opposition. This is not a precondition for convening the conference. These are steps, which will help us ease the sufferings of peaceful civilians. We want to facilitate this work and we’ll coordinate the work with the government and the opposition,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said militants sabotaged supplies of humanitarian assistance to Syrians. “The priority task is to deliver humanitarian assistance to Syria,” he said.

“At this stage the key task is to satisfy the needs of the suffering population and not to discuss the consequences, which the country can face if humanitarian cargoes are not delivered, and not to try to cudgel and threaten anyone. Moreover, it isn’t clear who is to threaten,” Lavrov said.

Militants killed 32 employees, who had supplied humanitarian assistance to peaceful civilians, the Russian minister said. “These are well-known facts. Thus, I’d prefer to concentrate on a positive agenda. Threats, sanctions and ultimatums have been already used,” he said, adding “No good will come of it.

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