Ambassador Pham Hai Anh, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Vietnamese mission to the UN, speaks at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on January 20. (Photo: VNA)
During the UNSC open video teleconference on “the situation in the Middle East,” Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy for Syria announced that the Constitutional Committee of Syria will convene during the fifth round of talks in Geneva, Switzerland from January 25 – 29, aiming to discuss basic principles of the constitution.
He urged concerned parties in Syria to take confidence-building steps, and hereby accelerate the political process in the country.
Pedersen said Syria is experiencing the calmest period of its conflict over the last 10 months. “But this is a fragile calm. It could break down at any moment,” he added, citing an abrupt escalation of violence in several parts of the country. He later called on parties to the conflict in Syria to strengthen dialogue to seek a solution for the crisis.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock described the deteriorating situation in Syria with soaring prices of food, saying last month, monitoring by the World Food Programme showed food prices increasing again, by 13 percent compared with November, and by 236 percent compared with December 2019.
He voiced his concern over the spike in COVID-19 cases in Syria while testing remains to limited, and that 45 percent of households have lost one or more sources of income over the previous months because of restrictions related to COVID-19.
Vietnamese Ambassador Anh, for his part, urged concerned parties to engage constructively in the upcoming meeting of the Constitutional Committee.
He further noted that the relatively calm situation provides a favourable opportunity for the parties to invest in dialogue and negotiation in order to foster a broader political process.
“COVID-19 cases keep increasing, putting further pressure on the already dire socio-economic crisis. There is still no sign of improvement when it comes to the gravity of food insecurity and shortage of basic goods,” he said.
“Against the backdrop of overwhelming humanitarian needs across Syria, we once again call for greater cooperation between concerned parties in order to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access, and to facilitate humanitarian response in all part of the country.”
He proposed the international community to continue its assistance to Syrian people in response to those needs, and at the same time, sanctions must not hamper the Syrian people’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic./.VNA