“Almost 10 years of war have meant that half of the Syrian population have had to flee their homes. Over half a million people have died. An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war. Their future and the future of their country is still being held hostage,” said the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission at the opening of the Brussels IV Conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”. “This conference shows that we are not forgetting the ongoing conflict, we are not forgetting the suffering of the Syrian people,” he added.
Around 80 delegations gathered virtually today for the Brussels IV Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the Region” hosted by the EU and co-chaired with the United Nations. The Conference is part of the EU’s conflict resolution toolbox, which is fully mobilised for the Syrian people and the vulnerable communities in Syria’s neighbouring countries. It is a yearly opportunity for all relevant actors to address the current situation in Syria, offer continued support to UN efforts for a comprehensive political solution and mobilise necessary financial support for Syria and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. The Ministerial meeting closes a week of events that brought together civil society, NGOs, international organisations, refugee-hosting countries, the EU and the UN community.
Ministers renewed their commitment to the future of Syria and to Syrians and pledged a total of €6.9 billion, of which €4.9 billion for 2020, and €2 billion in multi-year pledges for 2021 and beyond. International financial institutions and donors also announced €6 billion in loans on concessional terms.
Of this amount, the European Union and its Member States collectively pledged close to €5 billion. The EU and its Member States are the largest provider of international aid in response to the Syria crisis, having delivered over €20 billion of humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience assistance inside Syria and in neighbouring countries since the outbreak of the conflict in 2011.
The Conference also offered continued support to UN efforts for a comprehensive and lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict, in line with UNSC 2254. The resolution says that “the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria” and ministers reiterated calls for a Syrian-owned and Syrian-led political process.
“We, all of us, need to come together to pressure Damascus to engage in a political negotiation. Half-hearted engagement is again not enough. A sense of urgency is now required. This is the only way forward,” High Representative Borrell told the Ministers.
“We, as the European Union, will continue to exert pressure on the Damascus regime. Our sanctions are in place so that the regime comprehends fully and unambiguously that there can be no normalisation and no reconstruction until it changes its approach, puts a stop to its repression of the Syrian people and engages in [political] negotiations,“ said the High Representative.
EU sanctions have been in place since 2011, targeted at actors involved in the violent repression against Syria’s civilian population.“There is a way forward towards a new Syria,” Borrell said talking of a series of virtual dialogues with civil society organisations active in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and elsewhere in the region that took place between 22-30 June. “We have been inspired by the clear demand and fresh ideas of civil society for a new Syria. We also heard the strong appeal from the women of Syria for their full participation in the political process. Syria’s women and its civil society offer us another reason for hope,” the High Representative added.
The European Union will continue mobilising all tools at its disposal in support of the Syrian people, to work towards a lasting nation-wide ceasefire and a negotiated political solution and to help create the conditions for a brighter future for all Syrians.
Europe cannot and will not look away.
Virtual doorstep by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival at the Conference
Opening remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the Conference
Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference of the Conference