International

Syria: 7.7 billion dollars in aid for refugees, despite the crisis

(Brussels) The international community's support for Syrian refugees was confirmed on Tuesday, despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, with the raising of 7.7 billion dollars during a donors' conference organized by the EU and the United Nations.

Christian SPILLMANN

France Media Agency

“The commitments total 6.9 billion euros, or 7.7 billion dollars, including 4.9 billion euros for 2020 and an additional 2 billion euros for 2021 “, announced the Commissioner Janez Lenarčič at the end of the conference.

PHOTO OLIVIER HOSLET, AP ARCHIVES

European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič

The previous donor conference for Syria in 2019 raised $ 7 billion in commitments.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock hailed this success “at a difficult time to find funding”.

“If we get $ 5.5 billion, it won't be a bad result,” he said at the opening of the conference.

The EU institutions have pledged “2.3 billion euros for this year and next year”.

Member States have added national contributions. Germany has thus promised 1, 58 billion euros, l 'Italy 45 million, Ireland 25 million, Luxembourg 7.5 million euros.

The United Kingdom has announced a contribution of 300 million pounds (328 million euros) and France has committed to 845 million euros over three years, of which 637 million euros in loans.

Donor country commitments have been supplemented by loans from international financial institutions for € 6 billion ($ 6.7 billion), said Commissioner Lenarčič.

Chronic conflict

“I want to emphasize that today's event comes at a particularly difficult time, because the impact of the COVID pandemic – 19 results in a huge increase in humanitarian needs worldwide and it is obvious that it has a profound impact on donor savings, “he said.

“In this context, we must be all the more satisfied with the promise of global support,” he concluded.

The promised funds must help some 12 millions of Syrians who are refugees in neighboring countries or internally displaced, said UNHCR representative Filippo Grandi.

The head of the European diplomacy Josep Borrell insisted on the load which weighs on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, country of reception of the refugees.

PHOTO VIRGINIA MAYO, AFP

The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell

“Turkey has hosted 3.5 million Syrians for years. It is a heavy burden, “he said, welcoming the” solidarity “shown by Ankara.

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that the resettlement of refugees in other countries fell in 2019. The situation is putting “very strong pressure on host countries,” said Grandi.

“The pandemic has also hit the economies of the countries of the region hard and if its negative impact is not offset, all progress in humanitarian aid will be reversed,” he warned.

“We do not see a political solution to the conflict,” he lamented. “There are more regions that have become more stable, but there are still areas of conflict.”

“Refugee returns must be voluntary. However, there will be no reconstruction program until there is peace, “he warned.

“The conflict in Syria has become chronic,” lamented Josep Borrell. “We cannot accept it.”

“We need a political process that allows a peaceful, democratic and stable Syria,” he said.

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