Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, together with USG for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, met on 5 November in Geneva with Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov and United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman as part of preparations for the Geneva II conference. The talks were followed by a meeting with other permanent members of the Security Council and with countries that border Syria. Speaking to the media following the consultations, JSR Brahimi said that he was not in a position to announce a date for the Geneva II conference, stressing that the United Nations was striving to convene it before the end of the year. The JSR also announced that a further trilateral meeting between the UN, Russia and the United States has been scheduled for 25 November 2013.
Also on 5 November, the Head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons, Sigrid Kaag, presented her first report to the Security Council on the progress made by the Mission. In a subsequent press conference at the UN Headquarters, she said that the Syrian authorities were cooperating constructively with the Mission, and noted the need for future international assistance subject to the approval of the destruction plan presented by Syria by the Executive Council of OPCW. Ms. Kaag also indicated that Council members had asked questions about the two sites the Joint Mission had been unable to visit, which had been declared “abandoned” in Syria’s initial declaration to the OPCW. She said that chemical weapons inspectors would visit those sites in the future “subject to security conditions in the country”.
Briefing the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria on 4 November, USG for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said that the number of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance had risen to some 9.3 million, including 6.5 million internally displaced people. In her briefing, she urged Council members to use their help and influence over the warring parties to ensure the protection of civilians; the safe passage of medical personnel and supplies; the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; and to facilitate progress in expanding critical, life-saving relief operations.
During a meeting held on 3-4 November in Jordan, regional directors and representatives of more than 20 UN agencies agreed to complement ongoing humanitarian efforts in Syria and its neighbours with support for increased demands on basic services and to help the countries recover from economic downturns. “While we continue to provide essential humanitarian support, we must as well attend to development needs in a manner that is complementary, simultaneous and urgent,” stressed Sima Bahous, Chair of the Regional UN Development Group, which hosted the two-day meeting.
Select UN Stories
In Jordan, polio vaccination campaign focuses on Syrian refugee children
ZA’ATARI CAMP, Jordan, 5 November 2013- The recent polio outbreak in the Syrian Arab Republic highlights the critical importance of routine immunizations. In Jordan, the response has begun with polio vaccinations in Za’atari refugee camp, as part of a national campaign providing measles, rubella and polio vaccinations, as well as vitamin A supplements, to protect all communities.
Safe and dignified cash assistance in Lebanon
6 November 2013- For the first time in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) don’t need to wait in lines or visit distribution centres to receive cash assistance. Those who have recorded their details with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) need only stop by any ATM across the country to withdraw their cash. UNRWA cash distribution in Lebanon cover PRS food and housing needs, and will also cover winterization assistance.
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