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Russia FM says Syria-bound humanitarian aid convoys from Turkey deliver arms to militants

March 01, 14:45 UTC+3
According to Sergey Lavrov, Syria can be restored only through a durable ceasefire
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

GENEVA, March 1. /TASS/. Humanitarian aid convoys bound for Syria from Turkey are supplying arms to militants, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the High Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council session on Tuesday.

"A special task is to cut short terrorists’ supplies from outside, for which purpose it is necessary to close the border of Syria with Turkey, through which arms are being supplied to gunmen, including in convoys with humanitarian aid while the journalists who have reported about this are put on trial and sentenced to many years in prison," Lavrov said.

"Incidentally, this is about the freedom of speech," the Russian foreign minister added.

Syria can be restored only through lasting ceasefire

According to Lavrov, Syria can be restored only through a durable ceasefire and the commencement of the pan-Syrian inclusive dialog.

"It is possible to solve humanitarian tasks radically and switch to restoring the war-ravaged country only by ensuring a lasting ceasefire and commencing a truly inclusive pan-Syrian dialog on the future of Syria, which should be determined by the Syrians themselves without interference from outside," Lavrov said.

These goals stem from the UN Security Council decisions adopted in support of the International Syria Support Group and the initiatives of Russia and the United States as its co-chairmen, on which Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama have agreed, Lavrov said.

"Naturally, neither the ceasefire accords nor the process of the political settlement have any place for terrorists and extremists whose ideology and practice are incompatible with the principles of the existence of the human civilization," the Russian foreign minister said.

"Inflicting a decisive defeat on the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist groups outlawed in Russia] and similar groups is an inviolable condition for ensuring the rights of the long-suffering peoples of Syria, Iraq and, generally, the region of the Middle East and North Africa," the Russian foreign minister said.

Regime-change seekers want to use Syria humanitarian situation

According to the top diplomat, the humanitarian situation is Syria is used by those who want to change the regime in the country.

Lavrov said it is evident that standards in the human rights sphere cannot be ensured during armed conflicts and civil wars. "On the other hand, the sufferings of civilians in the countries hit by violence should not become a subject of propaganda campaigns and speculations aimed at solving geopolitical tasks."

"Unfortunately, such attempts are made in the context of the Syrian crisis, the humanitarian aspects of which are brutally used by those who cherish the goals of changing the unwanted regimes and even for redrawing borders in violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions," Lavrov said.

Alleviating the humanitarian situation in Syria is one of the major priorities of the United Nations, Lavrov reminded, adding that progress has been seen of late in delivering aid to those in need and widening access to the seized areas.

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