‘Secret directive’ bans UN agencies from helping rebuild Syria until ‘political transition’ – Lavrov
20 Aug, 2018 17:08 / Updated 1 year ago
“We addressed UNESCO on how they plan to implement the longtime talks, the longtime understanding on attracting the potential of this organization to rebuilding Palmyra,” an ancient city, regarded by the agency as a World Heritage Site, Lavrov said. “From the explanations of why UNESCO has still been unable to get involved in this process actively, we took that there was some kind of a directive from the United Nations headquarters in New York.”
He said that the UN Secretariat, which is the organizations’ executive arms, has “actually issued and distributed a secret directive throughout the UN system in October last year that prohibited the agencies included in this system from participating in any kind of projects aimed at restoring the Syrian economy.”
“Only humanitarian aid and nothing more” was allowed, the minister told the journalists after talks with Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil, in Moscow. “A term was put forward that restoration of Syria would only be on the agenda after a certain progress is made in the so-called political transition” in the country, he added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that due to the “absolutely deconstructive” stance of the US one also shouldn’t expect any positive decisions on rebuilding Syria and return of refugees to the country from the UN Security Council.
He reminded that following the talks between US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, last week, Washington said that that “any discussion of reconstruction was premature absent a political solution” in Syria.
Lavrov pointed out that such demands are only put forward by the Americans for areas liberated from terrorist and controlled by the Syrian government in Damascus.
“As for the areas held by often non-constructive opposition forces, cooperating with the US… the restoration processes there is, on the contrary, in full swing. Furthermore, the US attracts a number of its allies to funding these activities,” he said.
According to the minister, Washington’s actions contradict the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 from 2015, which stressed the “critical need to build conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees… and the rehabilitation of affected area” in Syria.
Moscow is going to continue working with the countries that “understand the urgency of the proposed measures for the return of refugees and creation of necessary conditions for them,” Lavrov said. He mentioned Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey as well as the European countries, in which “there is a growing awareness of the need for concrete steps” in Syria, among such states.
Resolution 2254 speaks about a constitutional reform and free election in Syria, but the US and its allies have been pushing for President Bashar Assad to be removed from the process, despite him being a democratically elected leader, whose popularity only increased after most of the country was liberated from terrorists with help of Russia, Iran and other allies.