Kuwait denounces massacre in Syria – World divided on fixing blame
BRUSSELS, April 5, (Agencies): The State of Kuwait on Wednesday condemned in strong terms the ugly crime in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, called on the international community to intervene and halt Syrians’ blood-spilling and prosecuting “officials responsible for such crimes.” Addressing “the Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,” Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah stated, “we are holding this crucial meeting which calls for alleviating the humanitarian hardships suffered by the brotherly Syrian people. “We meet here while pictures of the ugly massacre that happened yesterday in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib still vivid in our consciousness.
The State of Kuwait strong denounces this criminal action, renews the call upon the international community to implement relevant international resolutions related to protecting the brotherly Syrian people, putting an end to the cycle of violence and blood shedding in Syria, while emphasizing the necessity to bring officials responsible for such crimes to justice,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled stressed. Since end of the London conference, where Kuwait pledged $300 million at a rate of $100 million each year between 2016 and 2018, it had honored its pledge for 2016. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled indicated that Kuwait had honored its financial obligations for the Syrians when Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) inked memoranda of understanding with the countries hosting the refugees — namely Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey — for funding projects in health, educational and utility sectors.
Moreover, Kuwait had provided some $29 million to international agencies, which relieves the Syrian peoples in their home country, and the neighboring ones, he said. It will honor its pledges for 2017 and 2018 by providing more than $600 million for infrastructural projects in countries neighboring Syria, in addition to $58 million to relief agencies operating on the ground, the first deputy premier and foreign minister added.
Elaborating, he indicated that Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Science had secured more than 9,000 teaching scholarships for the refugees in the countries around Syria. The Syrian crisis which has entered its seventh year is tantamount to a bloody humanitarian catastrophe that has claimed more than 400,000 lives, along with some 12 million others who have turned either displaced or refugees, “thus casting a shadow not only on the internal conditions in Syria and neighboring countries but also on various states across the globe, undermining international security and stability,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said.
Aware of the volume of this humanitarian disaster, the State of Kuwait had hosted three international conferences for donors to provide humanitarian aid for the Syria, in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Moreover, Kuwait had cochaired the fourth international conference for states pledging assistance for the Syrians in London in February 2016.
Total Kuwaiti aid for the Syrians in the four conferences had reached $6.6 billion, he confirmed, while urging other nations that have not paid their pledged contributions to do so. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that since the first pledging conference that was held in Kuwait, the country has shouldered its responsibility towards the international community and to the Syrian people. “We were hoping that the only pledging conference for the crisis would be that of Kuwait in 2013, but unfortunately today we are obliged to organise many other pledging conferences and we reached the fifth one,” he told a news conference after the first session of the international conference on Syria in Brussels today.
He noted that this protracted crisis has spilled over to the neighboring countries and many UN reports draw our urgent need to access swiftly the beneficiaries within Syria and also to extend assistance and help to neighbouring countries who host a great number of refugees, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. “Along with this humanitarian assistance we also need a development programme in order to upgrade the capacities of infrastructures like electricity, energy, roads,” he said. “We need to work on the political track in order to allow the Syrian people to sit around the negotiating table and provide for security and stability. These were the main topics that we were able to talk about this morning,” he added.