International Conference on Syria
On 12 December, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle attended the meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People in Marrakech. On the agenda was the future of Syria and increased international support for the opposition “National Coalition”.
At the meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People
© photothek /
The violence in Syria continues unabated. However, Foreign Minister Westerwelle believes there are signs that the power of the Assad regime is crumbling. On 12 December, the Group of Friends of the Syrian People met for the fourth time. The goal of the meeting in Marrakech was to lay the groundwork for a political process to end the fighting in Syria. An important element of this is clear support for the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, a platform uniting the opposition that was established in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on 11 November 2012.
A signal for a new beginning
Foreign Minster Westerwelle with his colleague Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
In Marrakech, the participating states recognized the National Coalition as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people” and as the umbrella organization under which Syrian opposition groups gather. Foreign Minister Westerwelle called this “a powerful sign on the part of the majority of the international community in favour of a peaceful transformation and a fresh start in Syria characterized by democracy and plurality”. Assad’s regime, he said, must make way for such a fresh start. In Brussels on 10 December, EU Foreign Ministers had expressed their support of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces as “as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people” following talks with its president Sheikh Moaz Al‑Khatib.
At the request of the National Coalition, Germany and the United Arab Emirates want to promote the establishment of a trust fund. The international community should channel financial support to the National Coalition via this trust fund so that the needs of the Syrian people can be met, for example rebuilding destroyed infrastructure.
Germany increases humanitarian aid
Syrian refugees reach the Lebanese border
On the fringe of the conference, Foreign Minister Westerwelle announced that Germany will increase its humanitarian aid for those suffering because of the conflict in Syria by another 22 million euros.
The funds will be made available above all to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Programme and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The total of Germany’s humanitarian aid to those suffering because of the conflict in Syria this year is now at 90 million euros. Germany is thus the second largest bilateral donor behind only the United States. The funds benefit victims and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and increasingly also people inside Syria living in areas under the control of opposition groups.
The Group of Friends of the Syrian People met for the first time on 24 February in Tunis, with more than 60 states participating. At the second meeting in Istanbul on 1 April 2012, it was more than 80. By the time the third meeting took place in Paris on 6 July, more than 100 states and international organizations took part. In Marrakech, 114 states and 14 international organizations are participating.
Last updated 12.12.2012