Outcome of the Visit to Syria by a Mission of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)


In August a UN OCHA Mission visited Syria to assess humanitarian needs in the country stemming from the ongoing crisis there.  The Mission included staff from several UN institutions and humanitarian agencies (UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, IOM, etc.).  The Syrian authorities provided the Mission unimpeded access to all objects of interest.  The UN officials traveled to a number of populated areas, visited schools and hospitals, and had substantive conversations with governmental entities, local authorities and population.

Mission members were unanimous in the view that at present there is no need for urgent international humanitarian assistance to Syria.  We consider the findings made by the OCHA mission as objective and we hope that Syria will continue to closely and transparently interact with the specialized UN agencies.

Alexander Lukashevich is Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman.  This statement was first published on the Web site of the Russian Foreign Ministry on 8 September 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.  Cf. “Here’s the thing.  We are not completely satisfied with how resolution 1973 was implemented.  Now it’s in the past, because, apparently, the situation in Libya has changed.  Even so, we believe that the mandate from the Libya resolution 1973 was exceeded.  And we definitely wouldn’t want the same thing happening regarding Syria.  Yes, we see the problems in Syria.  We see the disproportionate use of force, and a large number of victims, and we do not like it either.  I have repeatedly talked about this personally to President Bashar Assad.  I recently sent a deputy foreign minister to underline our position again, but I believe that the resolutions we make to give a stern message to, as they say, the leadership of Syria, should be addressed to both sides, because the situation there isn’t sterile.  Those who shout the anti-government slogans are not solely supporters of a refined European democracy.  These are very diverse people.  Some of them are, frankly, extremists.  Some of them may even be called terrorists.  So the situation shouldn’t be idealized, instead we must proceed based on the balance of forces and interests.  We are ready to support a variety of approaches, but they should not be based on a unilateral condemnation of acts of the government and President Assad.  They must send a strong message to all sides of the conflict: they need to sit down and negotiate an end to the bloodshed.  Russia is also interested because, as a great friend of Syria, it’s a country with which we have numerous economic and political contacts.  So the search for ways out of this will continue” (“Medvedev on Syria, Ukraine and Russian Ethnic Harmony,” EuroNews, 8 September 2011).

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