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Statement by MEP Isabel Santos, Chair of the Delegation

Urgent action is needed to open humanitarian corridors to Idlib

Brussels, 18 February 2020

The situation is north-west Syria is alarming and worsening each day. Over 500 000 people have been displaced since December alone and civilian populations are enduring continual attacks, bombings and indiscriminate killings. Bombs are targeting densely populated areas, medical facilities and settlements for internally displaced people, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths and worsening humanitarian conditions. Idlib is the last opposition-held enclave and is home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people who have fled other battle zones in the country - many having been forced to move several times. There is nowhere left for these people to run.

The Syrian government and its backers are failing in their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians. Further, the targeting of civilian areas makes the provision of humanitarian assistance difficult or even impossible. The international community cannot stand by and leave half a million people to live without safety and without access to shelter, water, food and medical services.

The European Union has long held that there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that the only path to stability is a credible and inclusive UN-facilitated political solution pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015). As Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries I now call on the relevant EU institutions, the EU Member States and the International Community to deploy all political and diplomatic means to bring an end to the bombing campaign and attacks on civilians in north-west Syria, and ensure humanitarian assistance can reach the people who need it. I intend to write to High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borrell, to thank him for his recent speech in the European Parliament on the situation in Syria, to ask him to engage with international partners as a matter of urgency to facilitate the opening of humanitarian corridors to Idlib and other affected communities in north-west Syria, and to report back to Parliament on the actions taken to achieve this.

Statement by MEP Isabel Santos, Chair of the Delegation

Brussels, 23 January 2020

The Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries welcomes the announcement of the formation of the new Government in Lebanon.

Lebanon is facing a complex, multi-faceted crisis and needs swift action to re-establish political and economic stability. As Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries, I call on the new government to take immediate steps to address the aspirations of the Lebanese people, enact structural reforms, and tackle the economic and fiscal crisis. Now more than ever it is vital that the new Lebanese government is successful in order to re-establish the stability of the country. I welcome the support that the European Union is giving to Lebanon to carry out these social and economic reforms.

The Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries will continue to follow the evolution of the situation in Lebanon with great interest. The Delegation reiterates the European Parliament's and the European Union's strong partnership with Lebanon and its people, and our continued support for Lebanon's stability, unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence.