Joint Visit of Minister Coveney and Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs to Turkiye
Press release14 June 2022
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney T.D., will make a joint visit to Türkiye with Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt on 14-15 June.
The Ministers will visit the UN’s cross border aid operation between Türkiye and North West Syria, at Bab al-Hawa, before travelling to Ankara for a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu.
Ahead of the visit, the Minister said:
“Since joining the Security Council in 2021, Ireland and Norway have worked closely together as co-penholders on the Syria humanitarian file.
“After ten years of conflict, the humanitarian situation in Syria is worse than ever. Over 14 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4 million people in need of aid in North West Syria alone.
“Millions of Syrians depend on United Nations cross-border assistance enabled by the Security Council. The UN dispatched some 800 trucks of cross-border aid from Türkiye to North-West Syria every month in 2021, reaching 2.4 million people.”
The Minister added:
“This UN operation requires a political mandate from the Security Council to operate. In 2021, Ireland and Norway successfully led negotiations on Resolution 2585, which extended the mandate for the operation for twelve months, until 10 July 2022.
“Ahead of the expiry of the mandate, Ireland and Norway have again been tasked with leading negotiations on a new Resolution. Our visit to the cross border operation today highlights the importance we attach to this operation, and to extension of the mandate. Humanitarian aid must reach all people in need.”
The Minister concluded:
“I also expect to discuss the situation in Ukraine with Minister Cavosoglu, particularly Turkish efforts to find a resolution to getting the millions of tonnes of grain that are stuck in Ukraine out onto world markets. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing a humanitarian crisis, not only in Ukraine itself, but amongst vulnerable populations in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa in particular, who are facing food shortages and soaring grain prices.”
14 June 2022
Notes to Editor:
- Cross border deliveries of aid have played vital role in providing humanitarian assistance to people in need throughout the Syria conflict. In 2014, four of these crossings were given authorisation by the Security Council, under Resolution 2165.
- Russia is opposed to the use of cross border operations, believing them to be an infringement of Syrian sovereignty. In 2019 and 2020 Russia vetoed a number of UN Resolutions to extend the mandate for cross border operations. After protracted negotiations in 2020, the mandate for only one of the four original crossings – at Bab al-Hawa – was renewed.
- Since joining the UN Security Council in 2021, Ireland and Norway have served as co-penholders on the Syrian humanitarian file. In this role, we led negotiations on the extension of the mandate for Bab al-Hawa. In July 2021, the Security Council agreed on Resolution 2585 by consensus – this extended the mandate for the operation at Bab al-Hawa for 12 months, to 10 July 2022. This was the first Security Council Resolution adopted by consensus since 2016.
- Humanitarian needs in Syria remain extremely high, with over 14 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian situation in the North West Province of Idlib is particularly acute, with over 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The only viable way to meet these needs is via the UN’s cross border operation.
- To date Ireland has provided more than €220 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis – our largest ever response to a single crisis.
- Minister Coveney visited the UN cross border operation at Bab Al-Hawa in January 2021.