Syria bars UN humanitarian chief from visiting

AP News
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Posted: Feb 29, 2012 2:00 PM

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Wednesday that Syria has not approved her repeated requests to visit the country.

Amos said in a statement Wednesday that she is "deeply disappointed" that she has not been able to visit Syria despite her requests to meet officials at the highest level "to discuss the humanitarian situation and the need for unhindered access to the people affected by the violence."

Amos' U.N. office said she is now in Amman, Jordan.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the Syrians have delayed a decision several times but "they have not so far refused entry." He said Amos has been "extremely flexible ... and she's still ready to go at a moment's notice."

Amos said in a statement that she is "deeply disappointed" that she has not been able to visit Syria despite her requests to meet officials at the highest level "to discuss the humanitarian situation and the need for unhindered access to the people affected by the violence."

She said given the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, improved access is "a matter of the highest priority."

Amos backed calls for a daily pause in hostilities to evacuate the wounded and deliver food and medicine.