Security Council urged not to "squander" new momentum on Syria

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Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief. UN File Photo.

The international community is being urged by the UN humanitarian chief not to "squander" momentum generated by this weekend's conference on Syria to bring an end to the country's ongoing conflict.

Stephen O'Brien, head of the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, told the Security Council on Monday that the talks held in Vienna represented a "rare moment of diplomatic opportunity."

The Syrian crisis began nearly five years ago.  More than 250,000 people have died and more than 17 million citizens have been displaced both within and outside the country.

Dianne Penn reports.

Syria is the world's largest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century, according to UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien.

He said the Vienna conference represented a "glimmer of light" that international diplomacy could provide a solution to the conflict.

Mr O'Brien urged Security Council members to take advantage of what he described as "this rare moment of diplomatic opportunity" to push for a negotiated political solution in Syria.

"At the same time, this new diplomatic momentum should be used to generate early dividends for the Syrian people. Most immediately, I urge the Council and relevant member states to use their influence to press for an end of indiscriminate weapons and to take steps to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need throughout Syria. And I sincerely hope that progress will be made and that the incoming year finally sees an end to the conflict in Syria. We simply cannot squander this moment or momentum. All of us must stand up and play our part to bring an end to this conflict, once and for all."

The UN alongside the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Kuwait will hold a funding conference for Syria in London next February.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″


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