A meeting of eight nations, held during the G20 Leaders Summit in St Petersburg, today accepted the Australian plan for a medical pact for Syria.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr first proposed the plan in September 2012 in meetings with EU and Middle East foreign ministers at the United Nations in New York.
Speaking on the plan in St Petersburg today, Senator Carr said the chemical weapon use in Syria was abhorrent and further strengthened the case for safe access to medical care in Syria.
“The medical situation in Syria is worsening. A medical pact is essential to reduce the loss of life among Syrian civilians.”
The meeting of G20 leaders unanimously adopted a resolution incorporating:
- unfettered humanitarian access for medical personnel,
- securing humanitarian routes to ensure aid convoys can get through and
- safe evacuation of sick and wounded from war-torn regions.
Senator Carr said efforts would continue on commitments from Syrian forces not to target medical personnel or use hospitals and medical facilities as military bases.
Implementation of the plan could be observed by a neutral third party such as a non-government organisation.
In addition to Australia, nations attending the meeting included the United Kingdom, the US, France, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Turkey. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also attended and spoke at the meeting.
More than 110,000 Syrians have died since fighting in Syria began two years ago. There are an estimated two million Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
Australia is among the largest national contributors to humanitarian aid for Syria, with more than $100 million for basic food and medical aid and to deploy a six-person expert team of child protection, logistics and engineering personnel.
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