UN humanitarian chief says Syria approves visit

Last Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 23:21

United Nations: UN humanitarian chief Valerie
Amos on Monday said that Syria has approved a visit to the
conflict-stricken country this week.

Following widespread UN and Security Council complaints
about President Bashar al-Assad`s refusal to let her in, Amos
said she would arrive in Damascus on Wednesday and leave on
Friday.

"The Syrian authorities have confirmed that I can visit
Syria this week. I will arrive in Damascus on Wednesday March
7 and leave on Friday March 9," Amos said in a statement.

"As requested by the secretary-general, my aim is to urge
all parties to allow unhindered access for humanitarian relief
workers so that they can evacuate the wounded and deliver
essential supplies," she added.

The United Nations is not yet sure whether Amos will be
allowed to travel outside Damascus during her stay, her
spokeswoman, Amanda Pitt, said.

The UN announced on February 22 that UN leader Ban
Ki-moon had told Amos to go to Syria to press for greater
access for aid groups to the protest cities where the global
body says more than 7,500 people have been killed in the past
11 months.

But the Syrian government kept refusing to give the green
light, though it said it was waiting for Amos to propose a
date.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed a
statement calling on Syria to allow "immediate" humanitarian
access. Even Russia and China, which vetoed two council
statements on Syria, signed up to the statement.

Ban said on Friday that conditions in Syria were now
"atrocious" and that there were "grisly" reports of summary
executions and torture coming out of the protest city of Homs
where the international Red Cross and other groups have not
been given full access.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 23:21

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