UAE pledges $65 million for Syrian people - Update

BRUSSELS, 15th March, 2019 (WAM) -- The UAE has pledged US$ 65 million as part of its efforts in 2019 to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

This was announced by Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, while addressing the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, which was held here on 12-14 March in the presence of ministers and representatives of 85 countries.

"The UAE has always been at the forefront in alleviating the current humanitarian crisis in Syria and supporting the displaced and refugees, be it through UN agencies or the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF), which managed to provide services to difficult-to-reach regions, including launching food security programmes and establishing power grids, water networks and medical schemes," said the minister, noting that UAE is one of the three countries that founded SRTF.

Nusseibeh, who led the UAE delegation to the conference, extended thanks to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for the invitation to attend the conference, which, he said, holds a great importance as the Syrian crisis persists.

"We thank the European Union for hosting the conference for the third straight time, the sisterly state of Kuwait for hosting it three consecutive times and London in 2016," he said.

"The UAE firmly believes that a political solution is the only settlement to the Syrian crisis. Therefore the UAE backs all international efforts aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace deal in Syria in line with the UN Resolution 2254. Within this context, we are pleased to pledge $65 million in 2019 for the Syrian people. We also reaffirm that we will continue our diplomatic efforts in support of a political settlement."

"The conference convenes amid exceptional circumstances, with our region facing an extremely difficult humanitarian situation, where the number of refugees and displaced people is on the rise, a bitter fact that entails joint international efforts to expedite political solutions to the various crises faced by the region, given the continued growth of terror groups" the minister said, labelling the conflict in Syria as a "source of anxiety for all of us."

Nusseibeh highlighted the continuing UAE support for Syrian refugees living in Syria's neighbouring countries by providing relief programmes, setting up camps and offering various social services.

He in this regard cited the UAE-Jordanian camp in Jordan, the Dushanbe Camp in Northern Iraq, refugee camps in Greece, and the Field Hospital in Al Mafraq in Jordan, in addition to women's empowerment and female education programmes as well as vocational training initiatives for Syrian youth.

The minister also highlighted the support provided to Syrian people living in the UAE where more than 130,000 Syrians have been received since the onset of the crisis.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed/Tariq alfaham