On the occasion of the fifth Brussels Conference on Syria ('Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region'), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès and Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir announced today 18 million euro in additional humanitarian aid for the Syrian people. They stressed that a permanent solution to the conflict is only possible if all parties involved take responsibility and return to credible diplomatic negotiations.
After 10 years of conflict, the humanitarian situation in Syria remains extremely precarious. The conflict - the greatest human tragedy in decades - has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced half the population. Millions of Syrians live under the constant threat of violence and more than half of the Syrian population is dependent on humanitarian aid.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilmès wants to keep the Syrian conflict on the international agenda and calls for attention to the political process, because only through political ways is a permanent solution to the conflict possible. Belgium fully supports the approach of UN Envoy Geir Pedersen to take into account all aspects of the conflict and to prepare the ground for a credible political solution. Sophie Wilmès: "The current impasse is unacceptable. There is an urgent need for all parties, especially the regime in Damascus and its allies, to take responsibility. The negotiations in the Constitutional Committee are in a complete deadlock. Belgium therefore welcomes all initiatives that can help Mr. Pedersen establishing an international format that involves all actors and can ensure a solution that can lead to a democratic and prosperous Syria."
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (2019-2020), our country has been a strong advocate for ensuring humanitarian access to Syria and drawing attention to the plight of children. "More than half of Syrian children have known nothing but war.The international community must do everything in its power to give Syrian youth back their future prospects," said Minister Kitir.
The €18 million aid package comes on top of a total of €69 million in flexible funds released to meet humanitarian needs worldwide. These "flexible funds" are not tied to a specific aid action and fit within our country's humanitarian strategy of allowing aid organizations to respond to current needs in a fast and efficient manner. It goes without saying that much of this flexible funding will also help people in and around Syria.
Fight against impunity
Belgium will also continue to fight against impunity for war crimes, such as the use of chemical weapons, and crimes against humanity. "If we want the Syrian people to rejoin a national project, these crimes cannot go unpunished," said Minister Wilmès. "A lasting political solution must be based on reconciliation between the different populations. In this regard, criminal accountability is crucial."