Homs Aid Convoy Still Stalled as Geneva Talks Stumble On

Jan. 28, 2014 – A humanitarian aid convoy waiting to enter Homs remains stalled at the perimeter of the besieged Syrian city.

Lakhdar Brahimi announced on Sunday that armed groups had given assurances that the convoy would not be attacked if it entered Homs. However, government approval is holding up its entry

“The convoy is ready and still waiting to enter. The authorization has not been given yet,” Brahimi said at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday.  “We haven’t given up on that.”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has not had access to the city since late 2012.

There is also no progress on evacuating civilians trapped in Old Homs. On Sunday, Brahimi said the Syrian government would allow women and children to immediately leave but concern for their male kin as well as a desire for aid to enter before they leave is reportedly holding up their departure from the city.

Meanwhile, negotiations for a political solution between representatives of the Syrian government and opposition  – their first face to face talks – have produced no tangible outcome so far. Brahimi, the UN-Arab League special representative mediating, acknowledged the difficulty of his task as the talks in the Swiss city enter the final three days.

“You know, I think I will repeat again that these are not easy negotiations and they haven’t been easy today, they haven’t been easy these past days and they will probably not be easy in the coming few days,” he said. “But, I am glad that you have been told by representatives of the two sides that they intend to stay and continue these discussions until Friday, as originally planned.”

– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz

Photo: Homs, April 2012/Wikimedia