World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Syria: UN Calls For Speeding Up Chemical Weapons Elimination

Syria: UN Calls For Speeding Up Pace of Lagging Chemical Weapons Elimination

New York, Feb 6 2014 - The United Nations today welcomed a long-sought accord to let in convoys with life-saving supplies for 500 Syrian families trapped by war in the Old City of Homs without any aid for two years, but voiced growing concern at the slow pace in ridding the country of chemical weapons, calling for swifter action.

But even with deadlines being pushed back several times in carrying out the agreement brokered by Russia and the United States under which Syria renounced its chemical weapons material and joined the 1992 Convention banning them, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced hope that the 30 June target date for completion would be met.

“This may be a very tight target, but I believe it can be done with the support of the Syrian Government,” he told a news conference in Sochi, Russia, where he is attending the opening of the Winter Olympic Games. “I expect that they will do it, and also [have the] full logistical and political support from many countries.”

At UN Headquarters in New York, the Security Council held consultations on the issue, noting the removal of “limited quantities” of chemical weapons material from Syria on 7 and 27 January by ship, but it voiced “growing concern at the slow pace” of their removal.

The 15-member body called upon Syria to “expedite actions to meet its obligations to transport in a systematic and sufficiently accelerated manner all the relevant materials to Latakia… and to intensify its efforts to expedite in-country movement,” the Council President for February, Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania, told reporters afterwards.

After briefing the Council, Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN, said there is “a clear expectation” of swift movement. “The delays are not insurmountable,” she told reporters. “What is important is keeping the eye on the ball.”

Under the agreement Syria was meant to remove all its most critical chemical weapons material to Latakia for destruction outside the country by 31 December of last year. Less critical elements are to be destroyed within the country, all by 30 June.

The suffering of the 2,500 people besieged in Homs has become a symbol of the horrors inflicted upon civilians by the civil war in which considerably more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others driven from their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011 when originally peaceful protestors sought the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

Their plight represents to an extreme degree the lot of nearly 1.6 million civilians in other parts of Syria who have been without regular food or medical supplies for months, with UN aid agencies only a few miles away but unable to gain access from the warring parties.

In the case of Homs, UN trucks have been on standby for weeks only 12 kilometres from the Old City, ready to deliver urgently needed food and medicines to the 500 families, but agreement has been lacking.

Today, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos welcomed the news of the so-called “humanitarian pause” that will allow civilians to leave the Old City and let in essential, life-saving supplies for about 2,500 people.

“Now there must be unhindered, continuous and safe access for humanitarian workers to deliver aid to the millions of people trapped in all the hard to reach or besieged areas across Syria,” she said.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news