MOSCOW – Western countries have tried to use humanitarian aid to undermine Syria’s sovereignty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The statement followed a Russian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution on providing aid to Syria.
On Friday, Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution tabled by the so-called “humanitarian troika” – Germany, Belgium and Kuwait – that would extend humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria by three control points for one year. However, Russia’s resolution, which would extend aid delivery by only six months and reduce the number of UN crossing points to two, failed to win the nine votes needed to pass.
“Western partners, guided, as is now clear, by purely political considerations, not the needs of the Syrian civilian population, opposed our project. Obviously, the cross-border mechanism was important to them as an instrument of subversion of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, not helping those in need,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has argued that it does not oppose aid deliveries, but that the delivery mechanism should be adjusted to take into account developments in Syria since 2014, such as restoring control of the Syrian government over most from the country. These changes were taken into account in the draft resolution tabled by Russia.
Moscow also recalled that Damascus called on the UN to cease cross-border humanitarian operations and that failure to comply with these wishes would be a violation of international law, which states that humanitarian deliveries must be authorized by the recipient country.
Cross-border transport of humanitarian aid to Syria was authorized in 2014 by UN Security Council Resolution 2165, which allows the UN humanitarian agencies and their partners to use routes through the Bab al-Salam, Bab al- Hawa, Al-Yarubiyah and AlRamtha, in addition to those already in use. The mechanism has already been extended several times and should expire on January 10.