Ploumen in Rome to discuss access to emergency aid in Syria

Lilianne Ploumen, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is in Rome today for international talks on emergency aid in Syria. The meeting, which is being held at ministerial level, will look at what can be done to enable aid organisations to reach the many people in inaccessible and besieged towns and areas where no aid is getting through.

The humanitarian crisis in these areas is becoming increasingly acute. The Syrian government in particular, but also certain opposition groups, are systematically preventing the delivery of emergency aid to civilians. In some besieged areas the delivery of aid has been completely blocked for months. ‘We must continue to step up the pressure on the belligerents to let through relief supplies,’ said Ms Ploumen.

Today’s meeting will also address the demilitarisation of schools and hospitals. ‘It is vital that they not be misused for military purposes, but instead used impartially to help the sick and the wounded and to educate children,’ said Ms Ploumen.

Besides ensuring access for aid, the agenda includes aid funding. To date the Netherlands has released €74 million for emergency aid to the victims of the Syrian crisis. Recently €6 million was made available for aid delivery via the UN, while Dutch NGOs received €7 million to support the Syrian population. Ms Ploumen has expressed her admiration for the aid workers who in many cases risk their own lives in their efforts to help people in Syria.

The participants at the meeting include representatives from Egypt, the European Union, Iran, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. It will be chaired by United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos.