EU concern at UN Syria aid plan

AFP , Sunday 12 Jul 2020

Orphans from various nationalities gather at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, home to thousands of relatives of Islamic State group fighters, in the al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria, before being transported to the settlement of Roj, situated in the same region, on Januray 25, 2020 AFP

The EU on Sunday voiced "deep concern" at a UN move to close an access point for humanitarian aid to war-torn Syria.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution Saturday to restart cross-border aid to Syria -- but only after caving to Russian pressure to stop access through the Bab al-Salam crossing, which leads to the Aleppo region in northern Syria.

EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell and Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said that authorising only one crossing would hamper the delivery of aid.

"It is a matter of deep concern that the resolution adopted after repeated vetoes by Russia and China authorises only one crossing point out of the two previously available to the UN," Borrell and Lenarcic said in a joint statement.

"The unconstructive approach of certain members of the Security Council is all the more regrettable at a time when needs have never been greater and in the context of the coronavirus pandemic."

Authorisation for the continued transport of aid to Syria, a system in place since 2014, expired on Friday night after Moscow and Beijing used their veto power and the Council then rejected a counterproposal from Russia.

With the approval of the German-Belgian proposal on Saturday, the Bab al-Hawa crossing point on Syria's northwestern border with Turkey will be maintained for a year, until July 10, 2021.

Russia -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's key ally -- and China argue that the UN authorisation, allowing aid to be distributed without permission from Damascus, is a violation of its sovereignty.

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