U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Wednesday that Syria has not approved her repeated requests to visit the country.
“I am deeply disappointed that I have not been able to visit Syria, despite my repeated requests to meet Syrian officials at the highest level to discuss the humanitarian situation and the need for unhindered access to the people affected by the violence,” Amos said in a statement.
Amos’ U.N. office said she is now in Amman, Jordan. She had backed calls for a daily pause in hostilities to evacuate the wounded and deliver food and medicine to besieged areas throughout the country.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the Syrians have delayed a decision several times but “they have not so far refused entry.” He said Amos has been “extremely flexible ... and she’s still ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, said he would hold talks in New York from Wednesday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and member states on Syria.
The former U.N. chief has been appointed U.N. and Arab League envoy for the crisis in Syria, where activists say more than 7,500 people have been killed in 11 months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
But the announcement was met with queries from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem over the “precise objectives” of Annan’s mission.
“Kofi Annan had talked with Mr. Muallem after his appointment and the Syrian side requested the precise objective of his mission be explained in a letter by the U.N. so that we can examine it,” spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters, according to AFP news agency.
Russia, which along with China blocked a Security Council resolution that would have supported an Arab League call for Assad to cede power, said separately that Annan has been invited to Moscow for consultations.
Annan, in a statement issued in Geneva where he is based, said he would hold a series of consultations in New York through Friday and then depart for Cairo to meet Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi.
Meanwhile, a trio of European foreign ministers meeting in Germany said Wednesday that those behind the bloodshed in Syria must be brought to justice for possible crimes against humanity.
“We will spare no efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the widespread violations of human rights, which may amount to crimes against humanity,” the ministers said in a statement.
“We strongly urge the Syrian authorities to allow immediate and unhindered humanitarian access to all populations in need of assistance,” added the statement from German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, French counterpart Alain Juppe and Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski.
They were meeting in Berlin in a forum known as the Weimar Triangle, which was created in 1991 to promote cooperation and common interests.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said Tuesday that labeling Assad a war criminal could limit options to persuade him to voluntarily step down from power.