UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos
Russia on Thursday strongly urged Syria to allow UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, seen here in 2011, into the country to assess the situation in flashpoint cities such as Homs. © Simon Maina - AFP/File
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos
AFP
Last updated: March 1, 2012

Russia presses Syria to receive UN envoy

Russia on Thursday strongly urged Syria to allow UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos into the country to assess the situation in flashpoint cities such as Homs.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told ITAR-TASS in Geneva that Russia expected "the Syrian government... in the coming days to give a positive response to the arrival of chief UN humanitarian coordinator Valerie Amos."

"In our contacts with the Syrian government, we are insistently recommending that they take such decisions," he said in reference to broader cooperation with international aid organisations.

The Syrian foreign ministry said Thursday it was willing to discuss a date for such a visit after initially calling its timing "not suitable".

Russia had earlier in the day voted against the UN Human Rights Council's call on Syria to end all rights abuses and allow aid agencies "free and unimpeded" access to those caught up in the bloodshed.

Moscow has remained its Soviet-era ally's closest international backer throughout the nearly year-long crisis and on Thursday called the UN statement one-sided.

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