Donors pledge $4.4 bln for war-ravaged country
BRUSSELS, April 25, (KUNA): The State of Kuwait Wednesday reiterated its full support to UN efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria and called for an immediate end to the fighting. Speaking at the Brussels II conference on Syria, Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al Jarallah said this conference is taking place at a time when the Syrian people are facing a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
He noted that after a few hours the UNSC will meet to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria, and an important meeting was held this week in Sweden grouping permanent members of the UNSC, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura, to push forward the political process. He stressed on importance of finding a political solution to the end the eight-year-old confl ict and said that the suffering of the Syrian people was aggravated by use of chemical weapons in violation of all international laws and human principles.
Al-Jarallah said that to end the human catastrophe, Kuwait has assumed its political and humane responsibility as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council to push for, together with Sweden, Resolution 2401 to stop the fighting for 30 days. He said infl ux of a large numbers of Syrian refugees to neighbouring countries has created huge economic and social burden on host countries.
He praised the humanitarian assistance and help given by Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt to the Syrian refugees as well as to all efforts by the UN and its agencies. He said that Kuwait, as a centre of humanitarian works and under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, launched a campaign to help the Syrian refugees by organizing three international conferences in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Kuwait helped in organizing and co chairing the fourth conference on Syria in London and the fifth in Brussels in 2017. Moreover, it pledged $1.6 billion in these conferences and also paid the sum in full, he noed. For 2018 Kuwait has pledged and contributed $100 million for Syrian refugees and he called on donors to fulfill their pledges. Al-Jarallah underlined Kuwait’s firm position to support integrity, unity and independence of Syria and reiterated the call to an immediate end to the fighting and bloodshed in Syria based on UN resolutions, in particular resolution 2254.
In conclusion he expressed Kuwait’s support to Di Mastura for his efforts to find a political solution and thanked the EU for organizing today’s ministerial conference. Meanwhile, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini in her opening address said “we are here for Syrians, all of them. And we are here for the people, all the people of Syria.” She announced today that the European Union will confirm for the next year the same contribution as last year and “we aim at maintaining the same level of contribution until 2020 — that is 560 million euros ( $683 million) for our European Union’s support to Syrians in Jordan, Lebanon and inside Syria and for the host communities.”
For Syrians in Turkey, the European Union and Member States will uphold their commitments and mobilise additional three billion euros ($3.6 billion) in the coming two years. “We confirm to all our Syrian friends that we are still with them, that we do not forget that the war is still ongoing and that they need our help,” she said. Over 80 countries and international organisations are participating in the conference which began Tuesday on future of Syria and the region — cochaired by the EU and the UN.
International donors on Wednesday pledged $4.4 billion in aid for civilians caught up in the Syrian civil war — well short of what the UN says is needed for humanitarian work in Syria and neighbouring countries. The sum committed at a two-day conference in Brussels was less than half of the $9 billion the United Nations says is needed this year to help those in need inside Syria and living as refugees in neighbouring countries. The head of the UN aid agency UNOCHA called the $4.4 billion “a good start” but a group of nine international aid organisations said the conference “did not go nearly far enough”. “My best guess is that by the end of the day we will have heard pledges for 2018 of $4.4 billion,” Mark Lowcock, the head of UNOCHA, told a news conference.