UNITED NATIONS (Dispatches) – Russia says it will not support the extension for 12 months of the so-called cross-border humanitarian aid delivery mechanism into Syria as the UN Security Council prepares to vote on the issue.
Norway and Ireland had submitted a draft resolution to extend the mechanism, which is expires on July 10, for one year using two crossings from Turkey and Iraq.
When asked whether Russia intends to use the veto power as the permanent member of the Security Council during the vote on the resolution, the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Thursday that Moscow would not support it.
Nebenzia also confirmed Russia had introduced its own draft seeking to extend the mechanism for six months through one crossing.
Back in 2014, the UN Security Council for the first time authorized cross-border aid operations into Syria at four points, namely Bab al-Hawa between Turkey and Syria’s northwest, Bab al-Salam between Turkey and northern Syria, al-Ramtha near the Jordanian border, and al-Yaroubia on the northeast frontier with Iraq.
Last July, the Security Council restricted access to only Bab al-Hawa following opposition from China and Russia.
The mandate for the Bab al-Hawa crossing ends on July 10.
Russia’s special envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, also said all humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Syria should be delivered through the central government in Damascus, rejecting the so-called “cross-border” aid delivery mechanism.
Lavrentiev headed the Russian delegation to the 16th international meeting on the Syria conflict within Astana Format, Syria’s official SANA news agency said Thursday.