Ambassador and Deputy Head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN Phạm Hải Anh (front, left) in a United Nations Security Council meeting in January. Photo un.org
NEW YORK — Ambassador and Deputy Head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN Phạm Hải Anh on Thursday (US time) said it is important to provide timely, secure and unobstructed access to humanitarian aid in all areas in Syria to help the war-torn country combat COVID-19.
Speaking at a UN Security Council (UNSC) open video teleconference on the situation in Syria, Hải Anh spoke highly of the role of the UN and partners in maintaining humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people and called on the international community to provide the country support of all kinds, particularly to fight COVID-19.
The meeting was also briefed by the 1718 Sanctions Committee about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The official later highlighted the link between resolving the DPRK’s nuclear weapon issues and ensuring peace and security for a wider region; as well as the significance of negotiations to bridge differences and seek long-term solutions for these matters.
The ambassador lauded efforts made by the committee to promptly respond and grant long-term permits to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the DPRK to help the country stem the spread of COVID-19 and deal with the aftermaths of natural disasters.
He reiterated Việt Nam’s support for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, saying Việt Nam is committed to implementing the UNSC’s related resolutions and stands ready to contribute to regional peace and stability.
In his remarks at the virtual event, Ramesh Rajasingham, UN Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, expressed concerns that actual coronavirus cases in Syria far exceed official figures confirmed by the government following reports of health care facilities filling up and increasing death notices. The country has so far reported about 2,440 coronavirus cases.
It is even more worrisome that Syria’s health care services are scarce and the disease has broken out in densely-populated camps hosting large numbers of displaced people, including many women and children, living in very poor conditions.
UNSC members shared concerns over the growing impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Syria and emphasised maintaining a favourable security environment is critical for continued and unobstructed delivery of humanitarian assistance to all regions in the country.
Syria has entered the 10th year of instability and conflict, creating one of the most serious humanitarian crises in history with hundreds of thousands of people injured and millions of others losing their homes. — VNS