Dutch FM insists on effective humanitarian aid for Aleppo

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Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Bert Koenders (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

On Thursday Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs called for direct and effective aid to civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo. The Netherlands is insisting on at least a temporary cease fire, humanitarian assistance and making food drops possible, the Ministry reported in a statement on Thursday.

On Thursday the countries participating in the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) met in Geneva to discuss the current situation in the war torn country.

According to Koenders, so far the ISSG has booked little success in producing a breakthrough in the negotiations between the warring parties. "That is irresponsible. It is time that the ISSG and its co-chairs, the U.S. and Russia, take responsibility to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Aleppo." Koenders said.

The Dutch Minister believes that all parties should work on making humanitarian aid possible. "We need to focus on allowing aid in Aleppo. Not on the forced displacement of people, like the Russians seem to intend. That is the world upside down." he said. "Syrians must have access to food, that is simply essential."

Koenders wants the United Nations, as a neutral party, to play a leading role in providing humanitarian aid in Aleppo. The Netherlands also wants an independent investigation into allegations of a poison gas attack in the neighboring Syrian city of Al-Saraqueb earlier this week. "If there was a poison gas attack, that is a gross violation of international humanitarian law", he said.

On Monday Koenders also wrote a piece in the British newspaper The Times warning that the name "Aleppo" could become synonymous for the failure of the international community, just like with the massacres that happened in Srebrenica and Rwanda.

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