Lavrentiev urged to curtail the cross-border mechanism of assistance to Syria

Russia believes that it is time to curtail the cross-border mechanism of assistance to Syria. This was stated to journalists by the presidential special representative for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, RIA Novosti reports.

“Many are now concerned about the further functioning of the cross-border mechanism. As you know, resolution 2585 expires on July 10th. So far, we do not see any progress on the part of the West in easing the sanctions regime. This mechanism was created as a temporary measure, and, perhaps, the time has come for all the assistance provided by the international community to go legally through the territory of Syria, through Damascus. This is the position of Russia at the moment,»— he said.

According to him, the West has not fulfilled its obligations to implement early recovery projects, which were promised a year ago. “Therefore, under these conditions, we will probably consider the issue of curtailing the cross-border mechanism. Maybe we will think about developing some new mechanisms for the decent provision of assistance and restoration of the Syrian economy by the international community,— explained Lavrentiev.

The decision to launch cross-border humanitarian operations in Syria was taken by the UN Security Council in July 2014. Until 2020, UN humanitarian agencies and their partners could use four border checkpoints— “Bab es-Salaam” and “Bab el-Hawa” on the border with Turkey, “Al-Yarubiya” on the border with Iraq and “Al-Ramta” on the border with Jordan. As the Syrian army began to establish control over more and more territory, Damascus and Moscow began to advocate curtailing the work of border crossings. In January 2020, the UN Security Council extended the operation of two checkpoints on the Turkish border for six months.

Moscow explained the need for a gradual “winding down” mechanism of the changed situation on earth. More areas in Syria are returning to government control, so aid can be delivered from within the country in coordination with Damascus, as prescribed by international humanitarian law, said Russia's permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.

In the summer of 2021, the UN Security Council took five attempts to extend the mechanism for cross-border humanitarian assistance. Russia and China twice vetoed a draft extension resolution proposed by Germany and Belgium. In turn, the Russian version of the resolution twice failed to gain a majority in the Security Council. As a result, a compromise option left only one checkpoint open for a year— “Bab al-Hawa”, through which humanitarian goods come from Turkey to Idlib. This resolution expires on July 10.

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