12 February 2016
In accordance with the decision of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the United Nations hosted today the first meeting of the Task Force on Humanitarian Access in Syria, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Jan Egeland, Senior Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura.
The meeting was attended by representatives of all ISSG members. The purpose of this initial meeting was to agree on how the Task Force and its members can ensure that immediate access is granted to the civilian populations in besieged and hard to reach areas in line with the agreement reached by the ISSG at Munich.
In order to accelerate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid, sustained delivery of assistance is expected to begin this week to besieged areas where civilians are in desperate need of assistance. Humanitarian access to these most urgent areas will be a first step toward full, sustained, and unimpeded access throughout the country.
“Once we get clearance by concerned parties, the U.N. and its humanitarian partners will be able to reach the civilians in need within the coming days,” Mr. de Mistura said.
“Next week we plan to have a second meeting of this Task Force, in order to assess the progress made, and maintain the pressure for incremental and unimpeded aid deliveries,” he said.
“We have already submitted requests for access to the parties surrounding besieged areas,” said Egeland.
“We expect to get such access without delay. Finally, the civilians who have been deprived of their basic right of humanitarian access for so long, will have hope,” he added. “Let us not fail them.”
Geneva (12 February 2016)