Russian stance on Syria comes under scrutiny from MPs


MPs have raised doubts over Russia's commitment to helping victims of the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening faced several questions on Russia's position as she set out the UK's aid commitments in Syria on 4 February 2013.

The government announced an extra £50m for those affected by the conflict in Syria during an emergency conference hosted jointly by the Kuwaiti government and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on 30 January.

Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood asked about Russia's role in the humanitarian and political processes, and Labour's Diana Johnson asked whether China and Russia were making "significant contributions" to the donations required.

Mrs Greening replied: "I don't believe that Russia made a significant contribution at the donor conference. I think the most important thing that we would like to achieve with Russia and China is to get a breakthrough in enabling us to have a UN security resolution."

Earlier, she had warned the House "it may be we have still not seen the worst of the humanitarian crisis in relation to Syria" and that "it is vital that Assad goes and goes now so that work to rebuild Syria can begin".

Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis welcomed the government's announcement, saying: "It is essential we do not forget the here and now suffering of the Syrian people."

The new funding is in addition to the £21m of aid announced by Ms Greening on the 26 January and means the UK has provided £139.5m of aid to the region to date.

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