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News Analysis: Italy's efforts to highlight Syrian humanitarian crisis may boost talks

English.news.cn   2014-02-05 02:38:46

ROME, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino called for immediate humanitarian access to millions of Syrians in need and criticized partners for failing to ensure it so far. Analysts say Italy's efforts may give some boost to negotiations on the Syrian issue.

"Syria is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis of our era, and the fact that aid is being kept out of the region is a shame for all of us," Bonino said in Rome on Monday, during a meeting sponsored by the United Nations (UN) and attended by ambassadors and representatives of 19 countries.

"Practically, everything is ready to alleviate the suffering of millions of people ... Only a green light is necessary," Bonino added, pointing out that both the Syrian government and "some groups inside opposition forces" share a great moral responsibility for ignoring all appeals.

"We can no longer accept what is happening," she declared in her opening speech. Bonino's harsh words came only a few days after the beginning of a new round of Geneva II peace talks, which are scheduled to resume on Feb. 10.

According to analysts, the aim of such an appeal was to reiterate Italy's diplomatic role in the Syrian crisis and also to "put pressure" on all sides over the only issue, the humanitarian emergency, where progress might actually be made in the near future.

The Rome conference "underlined Italy's position, which has always been to search a comprehensive solution within the United Nations and not through bilateral or even multilateral negotiations," said Gabriele Iacovino, analysts' coordinator with the Rome-based Center for International Studies.

"On the other hand, Bonino and others among the international community are pushing hard on the humanitarian emergency because any kind of political agreement among the parts seems to be out of reach at this stage," Iacovino told Xinhua.

"Humanitarian conditions in Syria are getting worse and worse, and focusing on this practical aspect of the crisis may allow the international community to work around the stalemate, and let negotiations to go a little farther," he added.

UN aid agencies and the Italian Foreign Ministry had recalled the Syrian conflict's dramatic figures: 6 million people internally displaced and 2.3 million refugees in neighboring countries; more than 130,000 victims and 250,000 civilians at risk of hunger.

"It is the greatest emergency of recent times," UN deputy Secretary General Valerie Amos said at the Rome meeting.

Highlighting all this, local analysts suggested, these appeals might serve the purpose of putting haste on both the Syrian government and the opposition, who will be soon entangled in talks again.

"Bonino's and Amos's words must be read in the framework of negotiations," Alberto Negri, foreign correspondent and analyst with Il Sole24 Ore newspaper, told Xinhua.

"To grant a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors into the country, a political agreement among major international players and Syrian parts is required. In this perspective, their appeals might have a useful impact," Negri added.

The next round of peace talks is to begin in days ahead, Negri said, and UN aid chief Amos is expected to deliver her report on the Syrian humanitarian situation on Feb. 13.

"Meanwhile, unofficial meetings between the Syrian government and the opposition have reportedly taken place," Negri said. "All this may mean that extra pressures are being exercised on them over a ceasefire."

The negotiators failed to agree on that, during the 10-day inconclusive peace talks ended last week in Switzerland. Analysts believe that Italy's efforts may give a boost to negotiations.

According to Iacovino, some "progresses" will have to be made on the battleground.

"One part or the other must obtain full control of some disputed areas. Only with clearer front lines, in my opinion, a ceasefire and safe corridors can be implemented," he added.

Editor: yan
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