bashar al-assad.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SANA HANDOUT

There should be "consequences" for the Syrian government blocking aid to besieged rebel-held areas of the country, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday on the sidelines of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Al-Jubeir declined to comment on whether the international community - including Russia and the United States - would meet its recent commitment to begin airdrops of aid to besieged areas by June 1 if routes on the ground are not opened up.

"It is obvious Bashar al-Assad is not responding to the will of the international community. He is dragging his feet. He is not allowing the flow of humanitarian assistance to all areas. It is obvious he is not ceasing fire. There have to be consequences," he told dpa.

"Our position has been that we need to step up humanitarian assistance to the opposition and change the balance of power on the ground," said the minister from Saudi Arabia, a staunch supporter of the opposition. 

"The focus ought to be on the root problem, which is al-Assad," he said calling for the removal of the Syrian president.

"If you only deal with the consequences, it is a never-ending process," al-Jubeir added, insisting that aid alone cannot be the solution.

"All we are doing is providing comfort to those who are being killed. This is not a sustainable strategy."

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