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Envoy says West unconcerned by destiny of people in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta

A Russian envoy says the EU did not invite Damascus to the conference on Syria

BRUSSELS, April 25. /TASS/. Western countries lost interest in the destiny of residents of Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta after terrorists had been driven out of both localities, the Russian Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov said on Wednesday as he took the floor at the 2nd International Conference titled ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’.

"We are surprised by the following fact," he said. "When the Syrian armed forces were liberating Aleppo, or Eastern Ghouta from terrorists, the international community virtually went crying loud that a humanitarian catastrophe was allegedly unfolding there. This was as long as militants were there. But once the issue was resolved nobody cared about the future of Syrians who had been living and continue to live there."

"Today conditions in Aleppo are gradually, albeit slowly, improving, with electricity and water supplies being restored, schools and hospitals reopening," Chizhov said.

"The image is quite different in Raqqa where virtually no building was left intact after the air and artillery attacks by the US-led coalition," he said. "Life conditions there are indeed unbearable: whole city areas are still mined causing death every day, there is no water, no electricity."

Chizhov indicated, however, that the ordeals of the people living in Raqqa did not catch much attention in the West until very recently.

He recalled the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2401, "[…] which Russia supported and significantly contributed to its implementation clearly stipulates that humanitarian issues should be addressed on the whole territory of Syria."

"Therefore, we reiterate that these issues must not be politicized or used as instruments of pressure," Chizhov said. "Providing such assistance should not be linked to attaining certain political goals, as some Western capitals presume."

The EU did not invite Damascus to the conference on Syria thus "forgetting" about 90% of that country’s population living in the three quarters of the territory controlled by government forces, he added.

"I should say I am perplexed by the format of today’s meeting that does not include official representatives of the Syrian government. It looks strange, to say the least, that the distinguished delegates are planning to help Syria in a situation when official contacts with the legitimate government of the country have for many years remained a taboo for European politicians, and some states have even been promising ‘not to give a cent’ until political changes take place in Syria," he pointed out. "These European capitals seem to forget that today the Syrian government controls more than three quarters of the country’s territory where some 90% of the population live."

The donor conference on Syria opened on Wednesday. Representatives of more than 85 countries and organizations arrived in Brussels at the invitation of the European Union and the UN to raise funds to help the Syrian population and refugees and discuss the developments in the region and the current state of the political process to resolve the crisis in that country. Representatives of the Syrian government were not invited to the conference. Instead, the organizers invited some Syrian NGOs, including those based outside the country.