Syria refusing visas for Western aid workers-UN

GENEVA, July 16 Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:11am EDT

GENEVA, July 16 (Reuters) - Syria is refusing to grant visas to Western aid workers but the United Nations is trying to overcome its objections so as to expand its humanitarian operation in the face of growing needs, a senior U.N. aid official said on Monday.

"We have a number of visas pending for international staff from a number of Western countries - the United States, Canada, the U.K., France and one or two more - that are refused their visas because of their nationalities," John Ging told reporters in Geneva. "That is something we object to very strongly and are working with the Syrian government to overcome."

Syria's wheat harvest is estimated at 2.3 million tonnes this year, down from 3 million tonnes last year, he said, citing the result of a survey carried out by U.N. agencies.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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