Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: UN diplomats expect row with Russia on Syria aid

The United Nations Security Council will next week discuss if it will allow the UN to deliver aid to rebel-held northwest Syria through more than one Turkish border crossing following Monday’s devastating earthquake – a move Russia does not think is needed. With the death toll in Turkey and Syria passing 23,000, some diplomats expressed frustration on Friday that the 15-member council has been slow to act after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pressed for more access to northwest Syria via Turkey. “There is frustration with foot-dragging on this. The Secretary-General said we need more crossings. The UN Security Council needs to step up and get it done,” said a UN diplomat familiar with discussions, speaking on condition of anonymity. Since 2014 the United Nations has been able to deliver aid to millions of people in need in the northwest of war-torn Syria through Turkey under a Security Council mandate. But it is currently restricted to using just one border crossing. Brazil’s UN Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths – who is in Turkey and will also visit Syria – will brief the council next week and that any action by the body will “depend on an evaluation of the concrete situation on the ground, it cannot be a gut reaction to what is in the press.” (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/frustration-un-ahead-likely-row-with-russia-syria-aid-2023-02-10/) Following Guterres’ remarks on Thursday and calls by aid groups, the United States is pushing for the Security Council to adopt another resolution “that would allow for additional border crossings so that the UN can access areas in need,” said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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