Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin criticized the sanctions, imposed by the UK, the US and a number of other countries against Syria, calling these sanctions morally bankrupt and unacceptable.
"Development in Syria is being hindered not only by the consequences of conflict and COVID pandemic, but also by the illegal unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria by the US, the UK and some of their allies. These restrictive measures not only put obstacles to the economic recovery, but also prevent essential purchases of pharmaceuticals, medical and construction equipment. This is morally corrupt and unacceptable," Kelin said at an online conference on Syria, organized by the European Centre for the Study of Extremism.
The diplomat reminded about the aid, provided by Russia, including the 4,700 tonnes of humanitarian cargo, delivered since 2015, as well as the comprehensive strategic program of bilateral cooperation, currently in development. Meanwhile, he acknowledged that this is not enough, TASS reports.
"The Syrian population is in desperate need of humanitarian aid. The policy of Western countries, including the UK - to deliver aid to opposition-controlled areas only, while strangling the rest of the country with sanctions. It is cruel and raises huge concerns. It is vital to reach out to help all the Syrians, regardless of where they live and whom they support, without discrimination and preconditions," Kelin said. "Instead of providing occasional support to neighboring countries, where Syrian refugees reside on a temporary basis, the assistance should be directed to those willing to return. It will also help to ease the socioeconomic burden on the host countries."
"It is clear that Syria has overcome the most gruesome challenges of civil war and terrorist invasion. However, the country faces a thorny path to get back to normal. It is long overdue for all the international community, and here I turn to the UK authorities, to support this process by getting involved into reconstruction and helping people to build back better. Better late than never," Kelin urged.
New British sanctions
Earlier on Monday, the UK Foreign Office extended the Syrian sanctions list, adding, inter alia, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to the list, as well as five other officials and businessmen, including National Guard commander Major General Malik Alia and President Bashar Assad’s personal counselor Luna al-Shibl. All these people were barred entry to the UK; should their assets be discovered in the UK, they will be suspended.
Throughout the 10 years of the civil war in Syria, London imposed sanctions against Syria in 353 cases. However, today’s sanctions have become the first since the UK’s exit from the EU.