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Sanctions on Syria Should be Waived Amid COVID-19 Pandemic - UN Humanitarian Chief

Sputnik News

16:46 GMT 30.03.2020(updated 16:55 GMT 30.03.2020)

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock on Monday called for lifting the sanctions against Syria that could undermine the country's capacity to suppress the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

"I reiterate the secretary-general's appeal for the waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries' capacity to respond to the pandemic", Lowcock said at a UN Security Council meeting on Syria conducted via video conferencing.

Lowcock further echoed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's call for an immediate nationwide ceasefire throughout Syria in order to combat COVID-19.

The Arab Republic has already registered 10 COVID-19 cases, with one death, and the further spread of the virus can potentially have a "devastating impact" across the country due to its already weak health system, according to Lowcock.

While COVID-19 requires the implementation of critical travel restrictions, it is necessary that they do not result in reducing humanitarian cross border deliveries into Syria, as well as do not impede the work of aid personnel, he added.

Earlier this month, the United States added Syrian Defence Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub to its Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List.

Last year, the US Treasury sanctioned 16 individuals and entities associated with the Assad administration. The restrictions prohibited material support to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, including shipments of oil to Syrian government-controlled ports, as well as material support to designated terrorist groups.

Syria has repeatedly condemned US and EU sanctions, noting that the damage caused by them was more palpable than that caused by jihadists.

© Sputnik

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