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

 

Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news