Syria in need of humanitarian corridors

2014-02-04 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Russia offered assurances on today that the Syrian government will show up at a new round of peace talks next week and will soon ship more toxic agents abroad for destruction under a deal to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.

Despite sharp differences over the conflict in Syria, Russia and western countries have joined forces to initiate peace talks that began last month in Geneva, and in September agreed the plan to eliminate its chemical arsenal after a deadly Aug. 21 poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus.

Meanwhile, a meeting in Rome yesterday aimed at tackling the humanitarian crisis stemming from the Syrian conflict. Kristalina Ivanova Georgieva is the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

She said that humanitarian corridors have opened in some area, and the international community must work to expand them.

“We have seen engagement can bring results,” she told Vatican Radio. “For example, vaccination against polio has reached over 3 million children in Syria, and also, we have seen locally ceasefires that allow help to get in. The question is now to make this much profound on a much larger scale because if we do not succeed to get more access, not only people inside Syria would suffer unnecessarily but they will continue to flee across borders destabilizing the whole region.”

Georgieva said ending the humanitarian crisis is essential to keep the Syrian conflict from spreading.

“To unite the world on access is morally right and it is also in our self-interest, and this is the voice that European countries will continue to raise more strongly than ever before, because unless we break through this wall of resistance to get help to people, we are putting the world at higher and higher risk,” she said.