- Title: U.S. strikes deal with Russia to continue U.N. Syria aid access
- Date: 9th July 2021
- Summary: IDLIB, SYRIA (RECENT - JULY 2, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN A SIT-IN TO DEMAND THE OPENING OF BORDER CROSSING BANNER OF DISPLACED CHILDREN'S PICTURES WITH SIGN READING (Arabic): '(BORDER) CROSSINGS ARE A LIFELINE FOR THEM' PARTICIPANTS HOLDING BANNER MEN HOLDING SIGNS READING (English) 'HUMAN RIGHTS MUST BE BEYOND POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS' VARIOUS OF MEDICAL STAFF HOLDING BANNERS DURING THE SIT-IN / WALKING IDLIB, SYRIA (RECENT - JULY 1, 2021) (REUTERS) CHILD EATING SANDWICH IN TENT CHILDREN DRINKING WATER VARIOUS OF WOMEN COOKING TENT IN ZIRA'A CAMP CHILDREN NEXT TO TENT VARIOUS OF DISPLACED MAN, HOSSAN KAHEIL, ENTERING HIS TENT VARIOUS OF KAHEIL IN HIS TENT KAHEIL ARRANGING FOOD ITEMS IN HIS TENT VARIOUS OF WOMAN COOKING DISPLACED MAN, MOHAMMED OWEID, WITH HIS FAMILY ZIRA'A CAMP BAB AL-HAWA CROSSING, SYRIA (RECENT - JUNE 30, 2021) (REUTERS) TRUCKS CONTAINING AID DRIVING VARIOUS OF WORKERS AROUND AID TRUCKS BAGS IN TRUCKS WORKERS UNLOADING BAGS IN WAREHOUSE BAGS VARIOUS OF WORKERS UNLOADING AID BAGS IN STORES VARIOUS OF WORKERS MOVING AID PACKAGES TO STORAGE WORKERS PUTTING BOXES IN STORAGE VARIOUS OF TRUCKS CROSSING BAB AL-HAWA CROSSING
- Embargoed: 23rd July 2021 18:54
- Keywords: Bab Al-Hawa Russia Syria Turkey United Nations aid
- Location: UNITED NATIONS / BAB AL-HAWA CROSSING, AND IDLIB, SYRIA
- City: UNITED NATIONS / BAB AL-HAWA CROSSING, AND IDLIB, SYRIA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,United Nations,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002EL4DUMF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The U.N. Security Council on Friday (July 9) extended a cross-border aid operation into Syria from Turkey after Russia agreed to a compromise in last minute talks with the United States, ensuring the delivery of humanitarian help to millions of Syrians for the next 12 months.
"Parents can sleep tonight knowing that for the next 12 months their children will be fed. The humanitarian agreement we've reached here will literally save lives," said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Russia and the United States, whose relationship has been fraught on a number of issues, both described Friday's unanimous vote by the 15-member Security Council as an important moment.
Nebenzia described the vote on the resolution, presented by both the United States and Russia, as a "historical moment" that he hoped could "become a turning point that not only Syria will win from ... but the Middle Eastern region as a whole."
U.S. President Joe Biden had raised the importance of the cross-border aid operation with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met in Geneva in June. The Biden administration warned that any future cooperation with Russia over Syria would be at risk if cross-border aid deliveries were shut down.
"It shows what we can do with the Russians if we work with them diplomatically on common goals," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters. "I look forward to looking for other opportunities to work with the Russians on issues of common interest."
The council mandate for the long-running aid operation was due to expire on Saturday. The council first authorized a cross-border aid operation into Syria in 2014 at four points, but that was whittled down last year to one point from Turkey into a rebel-held area in Syria, due to Russian and Chinese opposition.
Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, did not engage in weeks of talks on a resolution drafted by Ireland and Norway that initially sought aid access from Turkey and Iraq for 12 months. Then on Thursday, Russia proposed a six-month renewal for just the Turkish crossing.
After negotiations between Thomas-Greenfield and Nebenzia on Friday morning, the council unanimously adopted a compromise resolution that asks for a U.N. report on Syria aid access in six months, but that diplomats said does not require another vote in January to again extend the cross-border operation.
Russia has said the aid operation is outdated and violates Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In a swipe at the United States and others, Russia and China have also blamed unilateral sanctions for some of Syria's plight.
Although the United States wanted the Security Council to authorize two crossings from Turkey and one from Iraq, Thomas-Greenfield said Friday's agreement was still a "success" because while "we wanted more, but we certainly didn't want less."
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the council's renewal of the "lifeline" for more than 3.4 million people in need, including 1 million children.
However, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, "With additional crossings and expanded funding, the United Nations could do more to help the rising number of people in need."
(Production: Michelle Nichols, Roselle Chen)
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