In the framework of the third international Brussels Conference on Syria (Supporting the future of Syria and the Region), which ends today, Belgium pledged 24,3 million euros for 2019 in humanitarian aid for Syria and countries of the region (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq).
After eight years of conflict, humanitarian needs in Syria remain at rarely seen and particularly alarming levels. Inside the country, close to 12 million people – of which almost half are children – remain dependent on humanitarian aid. The number of internally displaced persons, already at 6,2 million, continues to increase every day.
Outside of Syria, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo remain true to their commitment to support neighboring countries Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. The generous hospitality of these countries deserves to be acknowledged once again.
Millions of Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of the conflict. They will want to return one day but this can only happen if we can guarantee that their return is safe, voluntary and dignified. This can only happen on the basis of a political solution negotiated between Syrians, through a process supervised by the United Nations and involving all relevant actors.
In this regard, Belgium gives it full support to the mandate of the new Special Envoy of the United Nations to relaunch the political process in Geneva. Ministers Reynders and De Croo welcome the approach of Geir Pedersen to treat all aspects of the conflict jointly and pave the way for a credible political solution, as he indicated in his declaration to the UN Security Council on February 28th. As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Belgium will spare no efforts to build consensus between all stakeholders behind the UN mediation.
Belgium will also continue to actively support relevant mechanisms designed to identify and prosecute perpetrators of war crimes and violations of international law, in particular human rights and international humanitarian law. A durable political solution must indeed rest on a reconciliation between all segments of Syrian society, which supposes accountability and the fight against impunity.
As soon as conditions for a political transition will start to be implemented, Belgium will be ready to take its share of the burden for reconstruction in coordination with its European and international partners. Together with the international community Didier Reynders and Alexander De Croo are determined to continue their efforts to end the tragedy of Syria.