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US Sanctions Exemptions Facilitate Aid Flow to Terrorists Amid Pandemic, Syrian Ambassador Says

© Sputnik / Nina Zotina / Go to the mediabankSyrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari at the 10th meeting of the "Astana format" on Syria
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari at the 10th meeting of the Astana format on Syria - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The sanctions imposed by the US on Syria prevent the country from providing its citizens with adequate medical assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the aid provided as part of sanctions exemptions only supports terrorist groups in the north of the country, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said.

"These punitive and unlawful measures continue to cause a weakening of the ability of the public and private medical sector in Syria to import medicines and medical materials due to the tight targeting of these unilateral coercive measures of the Syrian banking sector especially in the field of foreign bank transfer," Jaafari said during the "US Sanctions During COVID-19 Pandemic, a Global Threat" webinar broadcast on YouTube.

The Syrian ambassador said that foreign companies refrain from signing contracts with Syrian medical institutions, fearing they will be targeted with sanctions, which, as Jaafari pointed out, are unlawful as they are not endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Jaafari emphasized that all the exemptions that the United States has authorized are not providing any relief as they only lead to the support of terrorist groups.

"These so-called exemptions granted by the US Treasury Department were and are still subject to politicized considerations that lead to the delivery of this aid to areas that are controlled by terrorist armed groups which in turn take over this aid and prevent it from reaching its true beneficiaries with the aim of supporting the positions of these terrorist groups," Jaafari said.

The US administration allows the sending of the so-called humanitarian assistance, which, according to the ambassador, includes weaponry, only to terrorist groups in the north-west and north-east of Syria, Jaafari pointed out.

In April, the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that UN human rights experts were calling upon the United States to lift economic sanctions imposed on multiple countries to ensure unhindered functioning of supply chains of medical products during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to OHCHR, the US had ignored repeated calls to waive sanctions that undermine the capacity of targeted countries to respond effectively to the pandemic. The humanitarian exemptions provided by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on 16 April did not ease the burdensome procedure of getting medical supplies to sanctioned countries, the OHCHR said.

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