Guterres wants extension of aid entry authorization for one year

por Guilherme Rego

The secretary general of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, defends the extension for one year of the cross-border authorization that allows the transfer of humanitarian aid in Syria, according to a report transmitted to the Security Council.

The document was consulted on Wednesday by AFP. The existing authorization since 2014 expires on 10 July.

Germany and Belgium have submitted a draft resolution to their partners in the Security Council to extend this authorization, which is opposed by the Russian Federation and China, as they understand that it violates Syria’s sovereignty.

In northwest Syria, which includes the Idlib region, to continue humanitarian aid, “cross-border authorization renewal is required to use the entry points at Bab al-Salaam and Bab al-Hawa (on the Turkish-Syrian border) for 12 additional months, ”wrote the UN leader.

This aid “is a lifeline for millions of civilians that the United Nations cannot otherwise reach,” he added.

Moscow understands that international aid can pass through Damascus.

But Guterres counters that this “is not a viable alternative” and that “a large-scale, durable cross-border response remains necessary to meet the enormous humanitarian needs in the northwest”.

“With 1,781 vehicles, the month of May saw a record of UN humanitarian trucks crossing the border with Turkey” since 2014, he detailed.

The aid provided by the World Food Program (WFP) alone benefits 4.5 million people each month.

Since the Moscow closure of the Yarubiyah entry point on the border with Iraq, imposed by Moscow, “most medicinal products can no longer be delivered” in northeastern Syria, said Guterres.

The UN chief is also uneasy about the deteriorating economic conditions in Syria. “WFP estimates that 9.3 million people are now in a situation of food insecurity,” he said.

In January, after recourse to its 14th veto since the beginning of the war in 2011, the Russian Federation imposed a drastic reduction in authorized border crossing points, which went from four to two.

Moscow also imposed a reduction in the authorization period from annual to half-yearly.

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