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UN says humanitarian aid is not 'political pawn'

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks to the press at the United Nations Headquarters on Dec. 6, 2017 in New York City. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

NEW YORK – The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes "humanitarian aid should never be used as a political pawn."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Thursday that humanitarian assistance should be based on needs and "carried out in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence."

He said humanitarian assistance always "needs to be independent of political, military and other objectives."

Dujarric said in the current standoff in Venezuela, "it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary for the sake of the people of Venezuela."

He said "as a general principle, the secretary-general has been supportive of international efforts to try to bring a solution to the current crisis in Venezuela."