Western funding of Syria to stop if cross-border aid obstructed

Russia has been warned by a French diplomat that blocking cross-border aid would result in the halt of Syrian funding.

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France warned Russia that unless humanitarian aid deliveries are not allowed across borders, Western nations will stop the funding.

Current UN Security Council chairman and France’s UN Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere said in a press conference that humanitarian assistance cannot be delivered across conflict lines to opposition-held northwest and northeast Syria as it will be in insufficient quantities.

De Riviere said the end of cross-border aid delivery would mean a reduction of 50% of humanitarian relief to northwestern Syria. The Assad regime denied permission for 50% of crossline requests this year. The French Ambassador believes Western capital should not flow into a system that does not work.

Russia is expected to block the re-authorization of the United Nations mandate of cross-border aid operations into northwestern Syria on July 10. The Security Council began negotiations on a draft resolution to continue the delivery of aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing and re-open the Al-Yaroubiya border crossing that was closed in January 2020.

The UN, the United States, and Europeans have been putting more and more pressure on Russia for the past weeks. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western donors of blackmailing Moscow by threatening to cut humanitarian financing for Syria if the mandate for Bab al-Hawa is not extended.

In a recent oral statement conveyed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lavrov said they will resist approaches of financial threats to force Moscow to concessions.

In other news, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the draft resolution to re-open the Al-Yaroubiya border crossing from Iraq to the northeast “a non-starter.”

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