Russia’s foreign minister on Monday accused the UN of hampering the reconstruction of war-torn Syria, as the Moscow-backed Syrian regime calls on refugees to return to the country.
Sergei Lavrov said the United Nations’ political affairs department had last year sent out “a secret directive forbidding organisations belonging to (the UN) system from any project aimed at restoring the Syrian economy”.
Such organisations would only be allowed to distribute aid until progress was made on a “political transition”, he said during a Moscow press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil.
“Over the last month, around 7,000 refugees have left Lebanon for Syria. We are continuing our efforts in that direction,” Lavrov said.
For his part, Bassil said he was “ready to cooperate with Russian authorities in the framework of several initiatives launched by Russia”.
“Conditions in Syria have changed, there are more and more zones where stability and security have been reestablished,” the Lebanese minister said.