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Geneva II peace talks on Syria: Still no progress on humanitarian assistance to millions in need
Oxfam’s Humanitarian Policy Advisor Shaheen Chughtai said: “A week after the start of Geneva II we have yet to see any genuine progress on humanitarian assistance to the millions of Syrians in need, despite some initial promising signs.
“Progress towards a political solution was always likely to be slow, but we urgently need to start seeing some common agreement on the vital humanitarian issues as lives continue to be lost each day. Aid must not be held hostage or used as a political bargaining chip during the Geneva talks.
“Getting aid safely to those most in need, requires careful negotiation with all parties on the ground to ensure that civilians and humanitarian workers are not targeted. Urgent action is needed to ensure that people, especially in besieged towns and cities can access food, water and vital medical care. These should not be denied to them under any circumstances by any party to the conflict - whether by opposition groups or the Government of Syria.
“What is needed first and foremost is a real commitment from all parties to halting the violence on the ground. All civilians, women, children and men, should be allowed to flee to safety from Homs and other conflict-affected areas.
“Recent reports that the United States has resumed supplying weapons to armed groups in Syria, and that Russia continues to supply the government are alarming. The continued flow of arms and ammunition into Syria are fueling serious violations and exacerbating the humanitarian suffering. They are also a real threat to already fragile negotiations in Geneva. We urge Russia, the US and the rest of the international community to cease transferring arms and ammunition and to give the peace talks a genuine chance of success.”
For more information or for interviews, please contact: Zahra Akkerhuys on +44 7525 901932, or ZAkkerhuys@oxfam.org.uk
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