Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel pledged over one billion euros of additional aid at the conference on Syria in Brussels. More than 70 delegations convened on 4 and 5 April in order to discuss concrete assistance for the suffering people in Syria and neighbouring countries. Germany is among the co‑hosts, along with the EU, UN and the United Kingdom, as well as Qatar, Kuwait and Norway. Alongside gathering pledges of assistance, the conference pursued clear political objectives.
No money for reconstruction
The international community is not abandoning the people in Syria. This was the clear signal that was sent by the London conference in 2016 where Germany had made the largest individual pledge of 2.3 billion euros. This commitment has now been stepped up in Brussels. In addition to the funds pledged last year, the Federal Government is setting aside a further 1.169 billion euros of additional aid. The aim is to alleviate the people’s suffering. “However, we will not commit any funds to one thing for as long as there is no credible political transformation in Damascus – namely reconstruction”, emphasised Foreign Minister Gabriel.
Tackling the causes of suffering
The reason for this is clear “Without a political settlement, we will continue to treat the symptoms instead of tackling the causes”, said Gabriel. One of the conference’s declared aims was therefore to inject fresh impetus into the intra‑Syrian negotiations that are being conducted in Geneva on the basis of UN resolution 2254. “We expressly support the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy to bring about a common basis for negotiations”, said the Foreign Minister.
A crisis with regional dimensions
The impact of the crisis extends far beyond Syria’s national borders. With this in mind, Foreign Minister Gabriel thanked Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt in particular: “These countries and their citizens are offering millions of refugees asylum, protection and future prospects on a daily basis.” Germany is supporting these countries with numerous projects – from education programmes to specially thermally insulated tents to cash transfer programmes.