NEW YORK, MAY 30 – Italy remains concerned at the possibility of new chemical weapons use in Syria. “Accountability for their use, including at Khan Sheikun, must remain an objective of this Council”, the Italian Permanent Representative to the UN Sebastiano Cardi told today after a Council briefing by Stephen O’Brien, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“The general decrease in violence that has followed the Astana agreement is a step forward. It should have prompted an increase in humanitarian access. As we have seen, this has not been the case so far”, Cardi said: “In this regard we expect that through the implementation of the Astana agreement of 4th of May, substantive and sustainable results can finally be achieved on the humanitarian front”.
The United Nations must have an active role in the implementation of the humanitarian dimension of the Astana agreement, so to ensure the respect of the humanitarian principals, ensuring that assistance can go in according to the UN’s impartial assessment of needs and that people who wish to leave or require medical evacuation can do so respecting humanitarian law and principles, Cardi added: “We would not like to see the creation of parallel tracks on humanitarian issues, without UN direct involvement”.
O’Brien made a dramatic appeal to the Council: “We must not lose sight of the fact that – all over Syria – millions of people, in locations inside and outside the four de-escalation areas, continue to suffer because they lack the most basic elements to sustain their lives. We must not stand silent while violence flares up elsewhere in the country and parties continue to use starvation, fear tactics and the denial of food, water, medical supplies, and other forms of aid as methods of war.”