In Syria, EU officials are making their first visits to Syrian regime-held areas since 2011, alongside officials from the United Nations Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.
These European officials include Dan Stoenescu, head of the mission, and the United Nations, accompanied by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Imran Reda.
On Monday, Reda tweeted that he and Stoenescu were on a plane bound for Aleppo.
“We are heading to Aleppo with Stoitescu for a joint visit. Thanks to the World Food Programme and donors for improving humanitarian access to the north and northeast through flights.”
“This is the first joint visit with the EU Mission to Aleppo, Homs, and Hama that has occurred since the crisis began. As needs grow larger in Syria, it is necessary to focus on early recovery and investment to avoid further deterioration of living conditions.”
Since 2011, EU officials have never visited areas under Syrian regime control.
For years, the European Union has imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime, individuals, and associated companies. At the same time, the EU has emphasized the need for a political solution under UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The change of approach came after the regime’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Bashar al-Jaafari, discussed with the heads of offices and missions at UN agencies operating in Syria “mechanisms to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2642 on the humanitarian situation in Syria.”
According to SANA, the two sides also discussed “UN plans to implement projects concerning early recovery in Syria, particularly in the electricity and water sectors.”
These discussions were followed by a “rare” telephone conversation on Sunday between the Syrian regime’s Foreign Minister, Faisal al-Mekdad, and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.