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Iran Press TV

Syria UN envoy calls for lifting of sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 1:50 PM

Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari has called upon the international community to work on lifting illegal economic sanctions and coercive measures imposed on his war-ravaged country and other states as the world is battling to rein in a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on the situation in Syria via video, Ja'afari strongly condemned sanctions as a weapon in the hands of some states in their sinful war against Syria and those states, stressing that the punitive measures prevent the Syrian nation and the country's healthcare sector from obtaining their basic needs to deal with possible cases of new coronavirus infection and treat the confirmed patients.

He then criticized the hypocrisy and double standards being exercised by a number of parties vis-à-vis the humanitarian situation in Syria and those states.

"Insistence on such unjust and coercive measures violate the international law, the Charter of the United Nations and human rights principles," the senior Syrian diplomat commented, urging UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to request the immediate and complete lifting of the sanctions after the ambassadors from China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria and Venezuela asked him to "reject the politicization" of the coronavirus pandemic to enable the nations to respond to the matter.

Ja'afari went on to say that the Damascus government has recently received several high-ranking officials from international humanitarian organizations, including the Executive Director of the UN World Food Program, David Paisley, and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer.

He said the talks with them were positive and stressed the need for joint and consistent cooperation and non politicization of humanitarian actions.

The diplomat emphasized Syria's willingness for a mechanism to provide all Syrians with the aid they deserve and to prevent terrorists from gaining access to them.

The Syrian UN envoy further highlighted that the Damascus government has on occasions censured the crimes being perpetrated by Turkish military forces and their allied Takfiri militants in northern Syria, and demanded pressure on Turkish troops and their proxies to let internally displaced people in some areas of Idlib return to their homes.

Ja'afari added that Turkish soldier and their allied militants frequently cut off water supply to local residents in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.

The Syrian diplomat said it is unacceptable that Ankara is taking advantage of the sufferings of the Syrian refugees, and uses them as a bargaining chip to blackmail European Union countries to grant it privileges, and to garner military support under the umbrella of the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"It is also unacceptable to tolerate the Turkish regime's support for terrorism, and its blatant and shameless transfer of terrorists from Idlib to Libya and other countries," he noted.

Ja'afari also argued that US-sponsored militants are preventing displaced Syrians stranded at the Rukban camp near the Jordanian border from leaving the site toward government-controlled areas.

Syria's Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed the country's first death resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as the country's fragile health system reels from nine years of foreign-backed war and sanctions.

The ministry also confirmed four new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of cases to 10 in the country.

The country is scrambling to counter the spread of the coronavirus outbreak by adopting numerous measures such as postponing parliamentary elections and suspending the work of certain public institutions and services.

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