Russia skips UN meeting on Syria’s cross-border aid

Discussion on the draft resolution issued by the UN Security Council took place this week.

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Diplomats said Russia skipped UN Security Council negotiations concerning the possible extension of cross-border aid access into Syria, as China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said they wanted to see solutions to its concerns about unilateral sanctions and aid transparency. Additionally, Jun referred to expectations about increased aid deliveries across the front lines within Syria.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the discussion concerned humanitarian needs rather than sanctions.

Despite Russia’s absence from the meeting, diplomats said they were still engaging with key members separately.

The resolution discussed in the meeting was drafted by council members Ireland and Norway, calling for the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to remain open as well as reopening the Al-Yaroubiya on the Iraqi border. Last week, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said that there were only discussions about the possible extension of the UN mandate for the Turkish crossing.

UN officials have been repeating that cross-border aid operations have been the safest and most reliable way of getting aid to people. Meanwhile, Russia and China oppose the renewal of the mandate, which is due to expire on Saturday.

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