Envoys: UN, Syria at odds over control of aid distribution

May 14, 2012 23:15

UNITED NATIONS - Damascus wants to manage the delivery of all humanitarian aid to a million people in need of assistance as a result of the 14-month-old conflict in Syria, but the United Nations insists on having some control, envoys say.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Damascus have been negotiating for weeks on a plan for the distribution of aid throughout Syria, but UN envoys familiar with the talks said the government and OCHA are deadlocked on the issue of who will be in charge.

"The Syrians want to maintain control of the distribution networks," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"That position is a non-starter for OCHA, as it should be," he said. "OCHA can't allow the Syrian government to use it as a way to get people (they want to arrest) or to deliver aid only to government supporters."

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