Turkey, US discuss how to provide aid to Syrians

Turkey, US discuss how to provide aid to Syrians

WASHINGTON-Anatolia News Agency
Turkey, US discuss how to provide aid to Syrians

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta thanks Turkey for its ongoing contributions under NATO and its decision to host early-warning radar of NATO during meeting with Turkish FM Davutoğlu on Feb 13, says Panetta’s spokesman George Little. AA photo

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Feb. 13 that Turkey and the United States had agreed there should be new humanitarian initiative to reach out to the Syrian people, as a real humanitarian tragedy was taking place in the country.

Davutoğlu said he hoped all obstacles to a humanitarian aid corridor would be removed, and that this was not a political or an intervention issue. “The issue is to allow all Syrians to receive humanitarian aid regardless of their being pro-regime or not,” Davutoğlu said in a press conference after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. After the vetoes of the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria by Russia and China, the international community and regional partners could not adopt a “wait and see” approach on Syria, he said.

Clinton said Syria was at the top of the list of important matters that she discussed with Davutoğlu.

“We are increasing our funding to organizations like the Red Crescent, the International Committee for the Red Cross, and we’re working directly with Syrian organizations at the grassroots to help families who have no electricity, food, or clean water,” she said. She also revealed they would “intensify diplomatic pressure” on the Syrian regime, “strengthen targeted sanctions,” and “increase outreach to opposition both inside and outside of Syria.” Clinton also praised Turkey as being “a nation of conscience that understands the suffering of the Syrian people and serves as an example alternative to the al-Assad regime.”

The Arab League initiative for the Friends of Syria group, which will hold its first meeting in Tunisia next week, was originally Turkey’s idea, said Davutoğlu, adding that if the U.N. Security Council had fulfilled its ethical and political responsibilities there would have been no need for a meeting in Tunisia. This meeting would represent an important international platform to send a strong and clear message to the Syrian regime that they cannot continue their violent policies, he also said. Tunisia was chosen because it was the first place of the Arab uprisings.

Davutoğlu also said the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had agreed to accelerate the procedures of a U.N. humanitarian aid office.