UN Secretary-General disappointed by failure to reauthorise cross-border aid to Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement on Tuesday expressed his disappointment that the UN Security Council on Tuesday was not able to reach an agreement on extending the authorization of United Nations cross-border relief operations to northwest Syria.
“United Nations cross-border assistance remains a veritable lifeline for millions of people in north-west Syria as humanitarian needs have reached an all-time high since the start of the conflict, while the impact of the devastating February earthquakes is still acutely felt,” he said.
It’s disappointing that the Security Council was not able to reach agreement on extending the authorization of @UN cross-border relief operations in Syria.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 11, 2023
I call on all Council members to redouble efforts to support the delivery of cross-border assistance to millions in need.
The UN Secretary-General calls on all Security Council members to redouble their efforts to support the continued delivery of cross-border assistance to millions of people in dire need in north-west Syria for the longest possible period.
The Guardian reported that UN Secretary-General António Guterres had wanted a 12-month renewal, while Russia said it would accept only a six-month renewal.
As a result, Russia vetoed the 12-month renewal proposal. While the Russian proposal of six months was rejected by other UN Security Council members.
The UN said that the first draft — submitted by Brazil and Switzerland — would have extended use of the Bab al-Hawa crossing for another nine months, but was rejected owing to the veto cast by the Russian Federation in a vote that had otherwise garnered 13 votes in favour, with 1 abstention (China).
This while that the “Russian Federation’s competing draft, which provided for a six-month extension, was defeated by a vote of 3 against (France, United Kingdom, United States) to 2 in favour (China, Russian Federation), with 10 abstentions (Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates).”
Humanitarian organizations providing aid and relief to northwest Syria also strongly condemned the Russian veto and the failure to reach an agreement on cross-border aid.
NGO Forums representing over 100 Syrian and international humanitarian organisations in a joint statement said that the "members of the Security Council have put politics ahead of the lives of Syrian civilians who are in urgent need of life-saving assistance - 80% of them being children and women of all ages."
"We condemn the veto by Russia today on the Syria cross-border resolution. This resolution is a critical lifeline for millions of Syrians, with no viable alternative to meet the growing humanitarian needs in northwest Syria,” David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said in a statement.
“It defies reason and principle, that Security Council members would vote to not maintain all avenues of aid access for vulnerable Syrians at this time.”
Also Johan Mooij, Response Director for World Vision’s Syria Response, underlined that the “escalating food insecurity and malnutrition rates in Northwest Syria necessitate immediate and substantial funding support. Advocacy for unhindered access to all areas is paramount as it enables organizations like World Vision to provide essential nutrition and other crucial services."
According to World Vision, in Northwest Syria, 48 percent of people need humanitarian assistance, and are facing escalated needs following the earthquake. Furthermore, approximately 3.3 million people are food insecure while malnutrition rates are climbing.