Damascus, SANA- Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem received on Monday United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the accompanying delegation.
The two sides discussed bilateral relations and means to enhance cooperation between the Syrian government and UNHCR and the activities the organization carries out in Syria.
Al-Moallem briefed the delegation on the huge efforts exerted by the Syrian government to guarantee improving the living conditions of its citizens and displaced persons equally, pointing out that the government attaches great importance to the ongoing process of reconciliation in various areas and the process of reconstruction of areas and homes that have been destroyed by terrorism in order to encourage displaced people to return to their homes.
The Minister expressed his appreciation of the efforts exerted by the UNHCR in cooperation with the Syrian government in the field of providing aid and meeting humanitarian needs, stressing on the necessity of depoliticizing humanitarian aid and not discriminating in providing aid to serve political agendas that have nothing to with do humanitarian affairs.
Al-Moallem reiterated the Syrian government’s call for the Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries to return to their homeland, affirming the government’s readiness to receive them and provide their requirements.
In turn, Grandi reviewed the UNHCR’s efforts to assist refugees and displaced persons in coordination with the Syrian government, affirming the organization’s desire to further strengthen and expand the existing cooperation with the Syrian government in the field of humanitarian assistance, and expressing his appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Syrian government in this regard.
Regarding the recent talk about the so-called safe zones, the views of the two sides were in agreement on that any attempt to implement such a thing without coordination with the Syrian government would be unsafe and would constitute a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
Earlier, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Midad and the Head of UNHCR Office Sajad Malik signed a cooperation agreement under which the UNHCR will provide technical support to the Civil Affairs Department of the Interior Ministry.
Following the signing, the two sides expressed their satisfaction with the existing cooperation between Syria and UNHCR, saying that the signing of this agreement would strengthen this cooperation.
In a statement to journalists, Mikdad said the agreement aims at enhancing relations with the UNHCR in the field of registering births and new statuses of Syrian citizens, adding that the main goal for terrorists is destroying everything in Syria including civil records.
“Regarding Syrian citizens who had to take refuge in other countries, we call on all UN establishments to cooperate with the Syrian government to make those neighboring states give access to the government to follow up on the statuses of its citizens,” he said, noting that the conditions in which Syrians are enduring in camps abroad sometimes border on the inhumane, as their lives are controlled by armed terrorist groups with support from the states they reside in, particularly Turkey, adding that premature marriage is one of the inhumane practices from which Syrian families living in these countries are enduring.
Mikdad also pointed out to the practices of the Turkish authorities that have been involved in trafficking of human organs and children.
For his part, Malik said that work has begun with the Interior Ministry in the eastern parts of Aleppo from which people left without any legal documents.
Mikdad also discussed with the UNHCR delegation enhancing joint cooperation in the field of providing humanitarian aid for displaced persons, particularly in Aleppo city.
During the meeting with Mikdad, Grandi expressed satisfaction with the cooperation between the Syrian government and the UNHCR, affirming the continuation of helping the Syrian people to overcome the difficult conditions they are going through.
Makhlouf, Grandi discuss means to increase humanitarian aid to citizens
Later, Local Administration and Environment Minister Hussein Makhlouf discussed with Grandi means of enhancing cooperation and delivering relief aid to people in need.
Makhlouf , who is also head of the Higher Relief Committee, called for boosting cooperation programmers between Syria and UNHCR and increasing services to help the Syrians who were displaced by terrorism.
For his part, Grandi said that he would visit Homs and Aleppo provinces to observe the humanitarian efforts provided by the Syrian government and possibilities of assistance in the two provinces, showing his readiness to increase cooperation in the field of fixing the real estates’ ownership and properties and registering births in the instable areas.
In this regard, the Minister said that the government has work programs and legislations to ensure the real estate ownerships which were targeted directly by the terrorist groups, in addition to registering the births and following up on education situation for students in all provinces.
Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh/Shaza/Mazen