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

 

Ban To Take Up Fight Against Ebola With All UN Organisations

Street sellers at Waterside market in central Monrovia, where there has seen a huge drop in customers over the past months due to the onset of the Ebola Virus Disease. Photo: UNDP/Carly Learson (20 November 2014) More>>

ALSO:

Darfur: UN-Backed Event Promotes Role Of Women In Peace

Darfur: amid mass rape allegations, UN-backed event promotes role of women in peace processes More>>

Ebola Cases No Longer Rising In Guinea And Liberia

In Conakry, Guinea, a mobilizer teaches children about proper handwashing techniques, which help prevent the spread of diseases, including Ebola. Photo: UNICEF/Timothy La Rose More>>

ALSO:

UN: Alleged Mass Rape In North Darfur

UNAMID commanders from Rwanda and Ethiopia exhange duties in Tabit, North Darfur, to escort a convoy of World Food Programme (WFP) trucks travelling from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya. Photo: UNAMID/Albert González Farran More>>


Illegal Fishermen Encroach On World’s Most Isolated Tribe

Due to their isolation the Sentinelese of India's Andaman Islands are the most vulnerable society on the planet. They face increasing threats from illegal fishermen who are targeting their waters. More>>

World War: Nearly 1,000 Dead Amid Shaky Ukraine Ceasefire

In latest report, UN rights office says nearly 1,000 dead amid shaky Ukraine ceasefire More>>

ALSO:

Palestinian Activists Cross Apartheid Wall

Friday morning around 50 Palestinian and international activists used makeshift bridges to cross the Apartheid wall between Qalandiya and Northern Jerusalem. This non-violent direct action was in response to the restrictions Israel had placed on Palestinian ... More>>

Police And Crime: FBI Warns Ferguson Decision ‘Will Likely’ Lead To Violence

As the nation waits to hear whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson , Mo., the FBI is warning law enforcement agencies across the country that the decision “will likely” lead ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news