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Remarks by Ambassador Heusgen in the Security Council VTC Meeting on Syria (humanitarian), May 19 2020

19.05.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

I would like to briefly come in again, because there were several speakers who claimed that sanctions impede humanitarian aid. I would just like to say that by repeating this, it doesn't make it more true. It is very clear that the sanctions, and I speak in particular about the EU sanctions, they are directed against the Syrian regime. If the regime continues to wage war against its own population, then they are to blame. Instead of waging war against the population, they should look at the humanitarian end. If Syria and Russia, for this matter, wouldn't bomb the medical infrastructure and hospitals or kill doctors and nurses or block humanitarian convoys, the situation would be much better. I am very appreciative that Vasily [Nebenzya, RUS Permanent Representative] studied the EU guideline and chose it. But the problem is that you didn't read it all, because dual use is indeed in this list, but the only dual-use item among the medical equipment is methanol and ethanol at more than 90 percent. You can get exceptions for this as well.

Then you said that there are persons who are not allowed to receive humanitarian aid. That is true for people who are targeted by the sanctions. Now, who are the people that are targeted? These are people who are war criminals, so instead of having these people receive humanitarian aid, they should be put into prison and punished for the war crimes or the torture they committed in Assad's prisons.

On these guidelines, I'm very thankful for Jonathan as former member of the European Union also defending the European Union.

So on the medical equipment and in particular on the supplies for COVID-19, all of this material is a humanitarian exemption: medical equipment, oxygen, respirators, personal protective equipment, ventilators,  medicine and other items required to fight COVID-19 are not subject to direct restrictions on supply, financing or use in Syria. This is all very clear.

So if instead of delivering weapons and arms to Syria, Russia would deliver humanitarian aid, we wouldn't need to have this discussion. Since you went into details of the EU guidelines and responded to my question, maybe you can also respond to the questions that I posed last time. Since we don't have an embassy, we are very curious about what is happening in Damascus. We asked about the rifts in the Assad clan and regime. Maybe you can tell us a bit more about this, or the Syrian ambassador can.

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