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Syrian government will test its level of trust to UN Special Envoy — foreign ministry

Damascus will test the level of trust to UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, a Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

Commenting on de Mistura's visit to Damascus, the spokesman said: "The Syrian government did not allow UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura or anyone else, for that matter, to make remarks on testing Syria's seriousness on any issue. The Syrian government should first test its level of trust to de Mistura who from the very start of his activities [on this post] provided information to the media that went fully against what really happened at his joint meetings with the Syrian leadership," SANA news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry noted that "over the last years, Damascus has adhered to the principle of sending humanitarian aid to regions sieged by terrorists in order to alleviate the situation of Syrian citizens (besieged by extremists)." This policy is not connected with agreements made at talks, including in Geneva or Munich, but rather represents "continuation of the general strategy of the Syrian government aimed at providing aid, including humanitarian, to peaceful residents of the country," the foreign ministry added.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura visited Damascus on Tuesday and held a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. De Mistura and Muallem discussed issues of providing humanitarian access to besieged regions.

De Mistura told reporters after the meeting that the talks were helpful and noted that they focused on issues of providing humanitarian access to besieged regions in Syria regardless of who is besieging them. "The access to these areas is done by convoys, coordinated by the UN country team ... It is clear it is the duty of the government of Syria to want to reach every Syrian person wherever they are and allow the UN to bring humanitarian aid... Tomorrow we test this," the UN envoy concluded.

[Source: Itar Tass, Beirut, 17Feb16]

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