France and Russia will jointly deliver humanitarian aid to the former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the French Presidency announced Friday, while it was also revealed that Moscow has offered to work with the US on returning Syrian refugees.
The French foreign ministry said that the first cargo plane, loaded with 50 tons of medical equipment and essential goods, would take off from Chateauroux Friday evening and head towards Russia’s Hmeimim air base in the west of Syria. It will be the first joint humanitarian aid operation between Russia and a western country.
The aid will be distributed on Saturday under the supervision of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA).
France had secured “guarantees” from Russia that the Syrian regime would not obstruct the distribution of the aid, and that it would not be misappropriated or diverted for political purposes, the foreign ministry said.
It was also revealed Moscow has put forward plans to Washington to cooperate on the safe return of refugees to Syria, days after a summit between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
“Specific proposals on how work could be organized to ensure that refugees can return home have been sent to the American side,” senior ministry official, General Mikhail Mizintsev, said in a statement. The proposals “take into account the agreements reached by the Russian and American presidents during their meeting in Helsinki” on Monday, he said.
[AFP and Reuters]