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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on the Security Council, which is specifically targeting Russia, to extend its authorization to provide cross-border humanitarian aid to the north-west of Syria for one year. This mechanism has been condemned. Moscow, which operates without the Damascus agreement.

This 2014 The authorization to use the last existing Bab al-Hawa crossing point on the Syrian-Turkish border expires on 10 July. Russia, which has previously sharply reduced access to cross-border communications on the grounds that it is violating Syrian sovereignty, may veto a further extension.

“Although the increase in aid on the front lines has been a major achievement, in the current context it is not on the scale needed to reverse the massive cross-border response,” Antonio Guterres warned at a monthly Security Council meeting on Syria. .

“I call on the members of the Council to maintain their agreement on the authorization of cross-border operations by extending Resolution 2585 for an additional 12 months. “The moral requirement is to respond to the suffering and vulnerability of the 4.1 million people in the region who need help and protection,” he said.

The population concerned lives in the Idleb region, which is not controlled by the Syrian regime.

In addition to providing humanitarian aid, “the renewal of the resolution will facilitate other rapid rehabilitation projects in the country,” Norwegian Deputy Ambassador Trine Heimerback assured ahead of the meeting.

This allusion to Western involvement in early reconstruction suggests that an extension of the cross-border mechanism could be offered to Moscow in exchange for more support for Western-funded reconstruction projects.

Russia has long been asking the West to take part in the reconstruction of Syria, but some members of the Security Council, France at the forefront, are refusing to do so until political reform is launched in the country.

Hundreds of trucks

“In the absence of a political solution, there is no reason to normalize relations with the Syrian regime and move towards reconstruction,” French Deputy Ambassador Nathalie Broadhurst said on Monday, recalling the European Union’s inviolable position.

“Syria needs as much help as possible, as soon as possible,” the Norwegian diplomat added in a joint statement with Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. At the UN, the two countries are responsible for negotiating a cross-border mechanism.

Washington has also raised the possibility of more active involvement in rehabilitation projects in Syria.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who recently visited the Turkish-Syrian border, stressed “U.S. support for rapid rehabilitation efforts” in Syria, which could include medical or school facilities. It is an “important element in the effort to achieve a sustainable response,” she said, adding that Washington was ready to increase its aid in the coming years.

The United Arab Emirates and China also talked about pushing for rehabilitation projects.

However, “we are not talking enough about the latter”, said Dmitry Polianski, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN. Russia is “convinced” that humanitarian aid to “all Syrian regions” is possible through Damascus without a cross-border system, “he said, accusing international sanctions of promoting humanitarian degradation in Syria.

Last week, some thirty non-governmental organizations and six senior UN officials have already demanded the renewal of a UN cross-border permit, which is being transited through Bab al Havai every month by hundreds of trucks transporting food and humanitarian aid to northwestern Syria.

Hubert Gildon

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