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Annan urges Syria to accept terms for UN aid delivery

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N.-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan is urging Syria's government to accept U.N. conditions for expanding the distribution of humanitarian aid to roughly 1 million Syrians in need of assistance, the United Nations said on Tuesday

by FP Staff 16 May 04:00 am IST

     

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N.-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan is urging Syria's government to accept U.N. conditions for expanding the distribution of humanitarian aid to roughly 1 million Syrians in need of assistance, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The aid is necessary because of the desperate situation many Syrians find themselves in after 14 months of a Syrian government assault on an opposition that is increasingly determined to oust President Bashar al-Assad."The joint special envoy (Annan) remains extremely concerned about the plight of 1 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters."He strongly urges the government to accept the conditions for a scaling up of the humanitarian assistance without further delay," he said."He underlines the need for a speedy agreement consistent with the government's commitment to allowing unimpeded access to and provision of assistance to Syrians in need," Nesirky said.The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Syria have been negotiating since March on a plan for the distribution of aid, but U.N. envoys told Reuters the government and the U.N. agency are deadlocked on the issue of who would be in charge.OCHA chief Valerie Amos told reporters in New York on Tuesday that the process of negotiating with the Syrian government should be moving more quickly. She said the number of people who need humanitarian aid was likely higher than 1 million now."It's been a very slow process," she said. "The government have now agreed with our assessment of the numbers and in what needs to be done. What we now need to negotiate is the how."Amos suggested one of the main sticking points in the talks is that Damascus wants to manage the delivery of all humanitarian aid through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.U.N. officials and diplomats say the U.N. aid office would be willing to compromise by managing aid....
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