Assad calls for greater "cooperation" on Syrian aid crisis
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) meeting with members of the Syrian Higher Relief Committee on May 3, 2014 in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO / HO / SANA)
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Syrian President Bashar Assad has urged government bodies who are tasked with providing aid and humanitarian relief in Syria to increase their “cooperation” with international and local organizations, Syrian state TV reported.
Assad’s statement was published shortly after UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon issued a report that said that foreign aid was failing to reach and provide relief to millions of Syrians in need despite a February Security Council resolution that aimed to provide greater access.
Ban’s report, which was released last week, blamed both sides in the war – regime fighters and opposition forces – but singled out the government for their role in the lack of aid distribution, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
On Saturday, state television footage showed the Syrian President in a meeting with representatives of Syria’s governmental relief committee, AFP reported.
"There is a need for greater cooperation between ministries and the bodies involved in humanitarian aid, and to deliver aid without delay, and to work on the ground with all the local and international stakeholders to make aid delivery smoother," he said, according to AFP.
The statement from Assad was released just three days after Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that the recently implemented Resolution 2139 was not working.
International legal experts have also called for more effective and serious humanitarian action in Syria, demanding that the UN delivers aid from Jordan and Turkey via rebel-controlled border crossings.
The Syrian government has so far blocked any efforts to allow international aid to be delivered in opposition-held areas through the border crossings. Assad’s latest statement gave no indication that his policy on aid had changed, according to AFP.
Instead, Assad said aid delivery must improve "without compromising national sovereignty."
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