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Syria - Statement by the Deputy Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Excerpts from the daily press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, 15 February 2012


The minister spoke again about humanitarian corridors this morning. How would these corridors work in practical terms?

Will the proposal for humanitarian corridors in Syria be included in this new draft resolution?


Access to the populations is a critical challenge for the provision of humanitarian assistance. The Ministre d’Etat took up this issue on November 23 at the request of Mr. Burhan Ghalioun, President of the National Syrian Council, when he received him in Paris.

Yesterday, at the Quai d’Orsay, Mr. Alain Juppé specifically brought together the main international organizations and French NGOs operating in Syria in the fields of humanitarian assistance and human rights; they confirmed the humanitarian emergency in this country.

The humanitarian situation is continuing to deteriorate in several regions of Syria, notably in Homs where the security situation is making the provision of any humanitarian assistance virtually impossible.

The few organizations present in Syria only have partial access to the populations affected by the crackdown and are not able to provide the injured with the care they need. The Syrian government is not observing the principle of free access to hospitals and rejects the very principle of a medical mission.

The civilian populations in the areas affected by violence are beginning to run out of food and basic necessities. The number of refugees and internally displaced persons is steadily increasing. The plight of the populations is reaching an extremely troubling level.

France is active in all of the international forums (Human Rights Council, UN General Assembly, Security Council) and is taking action on several fronts (condemnation of the regime’s crimes, support for the Arab League) and is continuing to reflect, together with its partners, on ways to guarantee safe and unrestricted access by the humanitarian organizations to the vulnerable civilian populations. We have a moral duty to help the populations affected by these shameful massacres. France is looking at all possible ways of getting the Syrian regime to change its position, put an end to the massacres and allow access for emergency humanitarian assistance.

Access to the populations is the main problem, as indicated by the representatives of the NGOs. The resolution proposed by Egypt to the UN General Assembly, which we co-sponsored, includes this demand for humanitarian access. If the Syrian regime persists with its refusal, a Security Council resolution will be needed to determine how to ensure this access to the civilian populations, for example in the form of humanitarian corridors.

France is already working with its partners in order to convince all members of the Security Council to take action in this direction. Mr. Alain Juppé will notably convey this message at the conference in Tunis on February 24.

We support the actions already under way by the small number of humanitarian organizations present on the ground. France has set up an emergency relief fund for Syria, with an initial sum of €1 million, in order to help the Syrian populations and will encourage its partners, at the meeting in Tunis, to establish a similar type of fund at the international level.

Learn more on Syria.



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