Important signals from the Norwegian Foreign Minister
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende will Tuesday be visiting Turkey, where he will meet with Turkish authorities, representatives of aid agencies and the Syrian National Coalition. –It is of utmost importance that we keep the spotlight on humanitarian access and political solutions in Syria, comments Liv Tørres, Secretary General of Norwegian People's Aid.
In February 2014, the UN Security Council passed a resolution meant to ensure aid agencies free and safe access to the civilian population in Syria. But little has changed for the better for hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been cut off from vital emergency aid for many months.
–The visit from the Foreign Minister is a signal that this is an important issue, and that the Turkish authorities and others with influence over the matter must pave the way for organizations to transport aid from Turkey across the border to Syria, said Tørres.
In Turkey the Foreign Minister will meet staff from Norwegian People's Aid working within the areas of democracy and humanitarian aid to Syria, from the NPA office in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep.
–We appreciate the Foreign Minister’s visit to Gaziantep, showing his support for the relief efforts for Syrians, said Tørres.
Support for democratic forces important
The Foreign Minister will also meet representatives of the Syrian National Coalition, which represents the opposition to Assad's rule in exile.
–It is positive and appropriate that the Norwegian government is in political contact with the Syrian National Coalition. In particular, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the National Coalition working in a way that involves all democratic forces for the future of Syria, said Tørres.
Norwegian People's Aid supports the National Coalition and a number of Syrian civil society organizations, who all contribute to keeping the wheels turning in the war-torn country at the same time as working for the future of Syria.
–These democratic forces are now fighting on two fronts in Syria - both against Assad and the Islamist forces. They will be key players in the reconstruction of Syria when the war is eventually over, said Tørres.
Next week Syria will hold their presidential elections, while the war rages and civilians are still being attacked daily. Assad is seeking to be re-elected as President after having started a military conflict that has displaced nearly half of the population and obstructed humanitarian access to the most disadvantaged civilians inside Syria.
–This is an illegitimate election and an illegitimate president. In this situation it is imperative to support the democratic forces that are fighting for a free and democratic Syria in the future, said Tørres.