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US Terms 'Shameful' Syria Denying Entry To UN Relief Chief

3/1/2012 5:53 AM ET

The United States has described as "shameful" Syria's denial of entry to United Nations emergency relief coordinator.

U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. Susan E. Rice said in a statement on Wednesday that it was shameful that the Syrian government denied U.N. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos admission to Syria, irrespective of its promise.

Rice said the U.N. functionary should have been able to negotiate urgently needed humanitarian access for relief organizations to operate safely in the midst of desperate shortages of food, medical care and basic necessities. "Rather than meeting the needs of its people, the barbaric Syrian government is preparing its final assault on the city of Homs," she alleged.

Amos on Wednesday expressed "deep disappointment" over denial of his entry into Syria despite her "repeated requests to meet Syrian officials at the highest level to discuss the humanitarian situation and the need for unhindered access to the people affected by the violence."

She echoed the Red Cross' call for a daily pause in hostilities so that humanitarian organizations can evacuate the wounded and deliver essential supplies of food and medicine.

Food shortages are reported to be so severe in the Middle East country that people, especially children, will soon start dying of hunger. Water and electricity have been cut. Doctors, aid workers and journalists continue to be targeted. Even the Syrian Red Crescent has been prevented by security forces from evacuating the injured.

The U.S. envoy said "the Assad regime's callous disregard for the needs of its people is not surprising, but it is reprehensible."

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman met with Syrian Chargé d'Affaires Zuheir Jabbour at the Department of State to express Washington's outrage over the month-long campaign of brutality and indiscriminate shelling of the city of Homs.

Feltman urged the Assad regime to comply with its November 2 commitment to the Arab League to end such violence and withdraw its military from cities and residential areas, as well as to accept the Arab League plan for a peaceful transition of power in Syria.

by RTT Staff Writer

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