Jul 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

UN extends humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria, ending U.S.-Russia conflict

Picture of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing

Picture taken near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, along the motorway linking it to the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria. Photo: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council voted on Friday to reauthorize the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians via the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, the only one available, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Driving the news: The vote will allow for the border to remain open for a minimum of 12 months. Russia agreed to a last-minute compromise with the United States despite its initial opposition, which officials say signals that it is possible for the two countries to continue cooperating, CNN notes.

  • The council's mandate for the aid operation was set to expire Saturday, but on Friday morning, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the UN, proposed its renewal following discussions with U.S. counterpart, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
  • The 15-member council then unanimously adopted the compromise, per Al Jazeera.

The big picture: President Biden had raised the importance of the aid-crossing operation when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, Al Jazeera reports. The Biden administration warned that Russia could stop expecting cooperation from the U.S. on Syria if the deliveries stopped.

  • When Biden spoke with Putin on Friday, they "commended the joint work of their respective teams," according to a White House statement.

What they're saying: "I certainly see it as an important moment in [the U.S.-Russia] relationship," Thomas-Greenfield said, per CNN.

  • "And it shows what we can do with the Russians if we work with them diplomatically on common goals," she added.
  • She said she was looking forward to more "opportunities to work with the Russians on issues of common interest to our two governments."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the vote will allow for the border to remain open for a minimum of 12 months, per a U.S. Mission to the United Nations spokesperson.

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