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Kuwait FM thanks nations for $2.4b pledges at confab Societies extol Kuwait’s humanitarian role

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 16, (KUNA): Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah thanked nations attending a conference on Syria here for pledging over $2.4 billion for Syrian humanitarian efforts. Some 62 nations took part, along with 14 UN agencies of various relief functions, and four regional organizations, he told the press conference held at the conclusion of the event on Wednesday. “The event comes in response to a second appeal launched by the UN in light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and acute shortage in basic necessities,” he said. The crisis has also taken a toll on surrounding nations, which have had to accept the influx of huge numbers of refugees, he described as “unprecedented in modern history” “It is because of this, that we must continue to pursue efforts in providing the adequate financial resources aimed at providing support for the UN and its specialized agencies - in order to meet the basic requirements of the Syrian people,” he added. The Kuwaiti government provided $500 million in donations to the cause, while its NGOs, in another meeting yesterday, put forward $440 million. In response to a question on what the amount Kuwait donated would be spent on, he said it would be placed in the hands of United Nations agencies and bodies, which will use the funds to ease the suffering of the people of Syria. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the increase of the amount, from $1.5 billion, last year, to over $2.4 billion, illustrated the worsening of the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

On this, he highlighted numbers of four million internally displaced by the fighting along with 700,000 refugees, last year, which has increased dramatically this year to almost half the population displaced and three million refugees. “We have to help them,” he said. “We said that we needed $6.5 billion, and we will continue to appeal,” he added. Asked about the media’s role, he commended the role of journalists who travel into the affected areas to illustrate the happenings. “I appreciate your role,” he told the journalist who had asked the question. On a question about Iran’s involvement in the upcoming Geneva II talks in a week, he said it was “very important” and that Iran was a “very important country in the region,” although, he said that its attendance had not yet been finalized.

Meanwhile, a number of Lebanese charitable societies have praised the humanitarian role played by the State of Kuwait in supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon. President of ‘Manaber Al-Noor Charitable Society’Ahmed Obaid said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the State of Kuwait, through its charitable societies and philanthropists, is the largest state that has provided aid to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, pointing out that the Kuwaiti aid has contributed significantly to easing their suffering. He praised charitable work carried out by Kuwait through its institutions and its charitable organizations in the Arab and Islamic countries in general and Lebanon in particular, expressing his sincere thanks to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah and the Kuwaiti people for their role in helping vulnerable people in various parts of the world. For his part, President of ‘Al-Istijabah Charitable Society’ Nadim Hijazi told KUNA that the announcement of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday to donate $500 million in the second Pledging Conference for Syria formed a strong impetus to the international community and organizations to meet the needs of the Syrian people. He added that the Kuwaiti NGOs have spared no effort to heal the wounds of the refugees, especially in Lebanon since the outbreak of their crisis. On the other hand, a number of Syrian refugees expressed their thanks and gratitude to Kuwait’s Amir, government and people, stressing that the Kuwaiiti donations, aid and the positions of Kuwait emphasize the human dimensions of this inherent people. Abu Hamad, one of the Syrian refugees in the city of Sidon, said the Kuwaiti donations were no strange to His Highness the Amir and the people of Kuwait because Kuwait is used to offering all sorts of aid and assistance to the needy people all over the world.


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