Labour’s Shadow International Development Minister, Anna McMorrin, has today written a follow up letter to the Secretary of State for International Development regarding the urgent need for an additional border authorisation in North East Syria.
Today is the third UN Security Council meeting since she wrote initially on 29 April, to which she received no response.
McMorrin writes “The severity of pre-existing issues in Syria compounded by COVID19 and the inability of fragile and low-income states and regions to tackle the virus effectively will have implications for our own safety and security at home.
“There is a moral and practical imperative for us to act to protect global public health as well as supporting the most vulnerable groups among us globally.”
Full text of letter
Secretary of State for International Development
Dept. For International Development Office
18th May 2020
Dear Secretary of State,
RE: Renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2504 for humanitarian and medical relief
I am writing to follow up my letter from 29th April 2020 regarding the urgent need for an additional border authorisation into North East Syria. I am disappointed that I have not yet received a response or acknowledgment and no indication from your Department as to when I may expect a reply to my questions regarding the UK’s position on the necessity to renew and extend UN Security Council Resolution 2504 and the reauthorisation of an additional border.
Two UN Security Council meetings on the situation in Syria have passed since my initial correspondence, and a third is currently scheduled for 19th May 2020. In my letter, I stressed the urgency for the UK to use its influence on the Council to push for the renewal of Resolution 2504 and to press for the reauthorisation of the border crossing at Al Yarubiyah, outlining the potentially catastrophic impact on our humanitarian response in the region if we do not demonstrate global leadership now.
As we have witnessed from our own experience of the COVID19 crisis at home, each day brings new challenges. However, the severity of pre-existing issues in Syria compounded by COVID19 and the inability of fragile and low-income states and regions to tackle the virus effectively will have implications for our own safety and security at home. There is a moral and practical imperative for us to act to protect global public health as well as supporting the most vulnerable groups among us globally.
I welcome the response given by the UK’s UN Security Council representative to the Council meeting on 29th April 2020:
“The United Kingdom is proud to stand with many others around this Council table as part of the decisive and coordinated action to tackle the spread and impact of Coronavirus in vulnerable countries across the globe. We must work together to do the same for Syria, we must give the United Nations and its humanitarian partners the best chance of being able to respond to the outbreak in all areas via all necessary modalities”.
I also welcome Lord Ahmad’s response to Lord Collins of Highbury in the House of Lords on the 13th May 2020:
“…my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary had a call with the Minister about the importance of keeping those corridors open. We hope that not only will this happen but that we will be able to open up additional humanitarian corridors”.
The UK Government appears to understand the need to respond to the urgent humanitarian situation in Syria. So in keeping with the spirit of goodwill, I await your timely response and confirmation that you will be ensuring the UK uses its influence to call for the renewal of the resolution and for the opening up of the border crossing at Al Yarubiyah to ensure millions of people have urgent and vital access to humanitarian aid.
For reference, I have enclosed my previous letter and I look forward to your swift response.
Anna McMorrin MP
Shadow Minister for International Development
Member of Parliament for Cardiff North