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Sanctions pretext to violate Syria's sovereignty, support terrorism: Ja'afari

A man rides a motorbike past damaged buildings in the rebel-held town of Nairab, Idlib region, Syria April 17, 2020. (By Reuters)

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari has denounced the Western economic sanctions against his country, saying the coercive measures are used as a pretext to keep up violations of Syrian sovereignty and support the terrorist groups wreaking havoc on the Arab country.

Addressing a Security Council session via video link on Wednesday, Jafari said the financial restrictions by Western states against his country and their attempts to hinder efforts to deliver aid to Syria expose their fake humanitarian claims.

“The motive behind all that is to find pretexts to continue violation of Syria’s sovereignty, threaten its territorial integrity, supporting the terrorist organizations,” Ja'afari said.

This month, he said, the Security Council has witnessed “feverish Western endeavors” to extend a 2014 resolution on aid delivery to Syria.

“The motive behind that is not to bring in aid to needy people, but to continue violation of Syria’s sovereignty, threaten its territorial integrity which contradict with the General Assembly Resolution No. 46/182,” he said.

After three attempts, the UNSC voted finally voted to extend aid deliveries to Syria for a year through a single border crossing from Turkey within the framework of a 2014 mechanism.

Russia and China abstained from voting.

Two of the earlier attempts were blocked by veto-wielders Russia and China, which argued the measures would violate Syrian sovereignty and any aid should be channeled through the Damascus government.  The UNSC had also rejected relevant a Russian-drafted resolution.

Ja’afari said that sanctions against Syria have hampered the entry of medical supplies amid the country’s battle against a coronavirus outbreak.

He said that Syria had repeatedly informed the United Nations that its health sector was suffering from a major shortage in medicine, yarns, surgical materials and medical equipment due to the illegal financial sanctions imposed on the Arab country.

He stressed that the center to coordinate humanitarian work is in Damascus, not in Gaziantep in Turkey, Belgium’s Brussels, Germany’s Berlin, France’s Paris or any other place

“The main burden in providing humanitarian aid, services and support for the Syrians are assumed by the institutions of Syria, its allies and partners in the humanitarian work,” he said, criticizing the UN human rights office for politicizing humanitarian aid.

Ja’afari further noted that countries hostile to Syria have not stopped their documented grave violations of the UN Charter and international law, nor have they stopped perpetrating crimes against the Syrian people, plundering the country’s resources and besieging and starving its people.

Besides all those crime, they also launch acts of aggression on civil passenger planes that cross the Syrian airspace in a flagrant violation of international law and international civil aviation rules, he added.

He was referring to the US harassment of an Iranian civilian flight in Syrian skies last Thursday, when two US F-15 warplanes conducted a dangerous maneuvering close to Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 that had taken off from Tehran and was heading to Beirut.

The incident took place over Syria’s al-Tanf region, where the US maintains an illegal military presence.

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