Limited extension of UN aid for Syria

After considerable wrangling, the UN Security Council has approved an extension of cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria. A 2014 resolution which also allowed aid to be delivered to areas not controlled by the government expired on Saturday. However, due to opposition from Russia and China, who abstained in the last vote and had vetoed all previous proposals, aid can only be brought into the country via a single access point.

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Bild (DE) /

Berlin's satisfaction an admission of failure

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed relief that the aid was approved, but for Bild this is hardly a successful compromise:

“The truth is that Putin has once again prevailed. Only a single border crossing point can be left open to provide aid to millions of displaced people in Syria. ... The international community has let Putin play his cynical game for years. First he and his ally Assad bombed hundreds of thousands of Syrians into refugee camps, then they blocked UN aid. Russia uses its permanent seat on the UN Security Council only to cover up its bloodbaths in Syria and turn millions of civilians into refugees. The fact that the German government, which loves to talk about universal human rights and stress the importance of international institutions, is trying to make the best of a bad job is a concession of failure.”

De Standaard (BE) /

... and in the end the Russians win

Russia and China have won again with their power games, De Standaard complains and calls for a reform of the Security Council:

“Moscow played a dirty game of Stratego that it couldn't in fact lose. ... This whole spectacle has once again exposed the weaknesses of the UN's highest organ, for which it has failed to find a solution. ... The power game reflects the tensions between the West on the one hand and Russia and China on the other, with Putin and Xi having acquired infinite power. And because Donald Trump is systematically undermining the foundations of the Security Council, the European heavyweights often stand alone. ... There is little chance that a solution will tabled anytime soon. Why should Putin and Xi agree to a proposal that limits their power?”