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A breakthrough of sorts

Feb 23,2014 - Last updated at Feb 23,2014

In a remarkable break from deadlocks and Russian and Chinese threats to resort to veto over the Syrian conflict, the UN Security Council unanimously demanded Saturday immediate access everywhere in Syria in a bid to address the worsening humanitarian situation in the country.

According to UN records, more than 130,000 Syrians have been killed since the onset of the civil war in the country and about four million were rendered homeless or refugees.

After wrangling and difficult negotiations between the sponsors of the idea, Jordan, Australia and Luxembourg, on one side, and Moscow and Beijing, on the other, it finally received the support of all the UN Security Council members, hopefully paving the way for humanitarian aid to reach the besieged pockets of population in desperate need of, mostly, food and medication.

The move also sends the message that the council intends to deal seriously with the Syrian conflict.

The key provisions of the resolution are strong; the demand is that “all parties, in particular the Syrian authorities, promptly allow rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for UN humanitarian agencies including access to conflict lines and borders”, and that all parties “cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas including shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs and other methods of warfare to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering”.

The resolution also called for lifting the siege on cities like Aleppo, Homs and Hama.

True, the resolution did not make any reference to Chapter Seven of the UN Charter in case any party fails to comply with it, something Russia insisted on in order to give its blessing to it, but the fact that it was supported by all members of the UN Security Council and that it threatened to take “further steps” should either party fail to comply with its provisions should be enough warning to the warring parties that they should comply with it.

Its adoption is a triumph for common sense, fairness and justice.

More importantly, the resolution could be the starting point for more meaningful decisions on the Syrian crisis, especially if Moscow and Beijing continue to play a constructive role in the search for a just and durable solution to the Syrian catastrophe.

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