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Australia to raise Syria medical pact at G20

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MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Bob Carr September 5, 2013 AUSTRALIA TO RAISE SYRIA MEDICAL PACT AT G20 Foreign Minister Bob Carr will continue to push for international support for a medical pact in Syria to protect doctors and health workers, while at this week’s G20 Summit in St Petersburg.

“We’ll be seeking further support for our medical pact in meetings with like-minded nations during the Summit,” Senator Carr said.

“The recent chemical weapons attack and the importance of an international response will be the focus of talks. “But we will also seek to persuade others to press for measures allowing doctors and other medical workers in Syria to do their job. “This is a minimalist plan to protect hospitals and health workers and help the thousands of Syrian families cut off from basic care” The Australian plan would involve securing a commitment from all sides in the Syrian conflict:

• Not to target medical personnel;

• Not to block access to doctors, hospitals or emergency care; and

• Not to attack medical facilities.

Implementation could be observed by a neutral third party such as a non-government organisation. 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.

Minister’s Office: 0435 658 623