Over 80 countries, international organisations, the EU and UN agencies came together to participate in the international conference and in its high level ministerial segment on Tuesday 30 March. Russia was represented by Sergey Vershinin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Opening the ministerial meeting, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell said: “The conflict is certainly far from over. Meanwhile, negotiations in Geneva are close to a standstill, no progress. And yet we need to advance on the political front towards a comprehensive and sustainable solution. We need that if we want to pull Syria back on track, back on its feet.”
The conference succeeded in mobilising aid to Syrians inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, including for hosting communities, through pledges totalling €5.3 billion for 2021 and beyond. Of this amount, €3.7 billion were announced by the EU, with €1.12 billion coming from the European Commission and €2.6 billion from EU Member States. In the past 10 years, the European Union and its member states have been the largest provider of support to Syria with close to €25 billion delivered since the beginning of the crisis.
“Syrians must decide the future of Syria. The future of Syria belongs to none of the factions and to none of the outside powers. It is for Syrians to shape, in Syrian-owned and Syrian-led negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. In the meantime we will keep mobilising all our efforts to meet the increasing needs of the Syrian people and neighbouring countries hosting 5.6 million refugees,” stressed EU High Representative Borrell at the press conference.
Brussels V was an opportunity to gather all relevant actors to effectively address the current situation In Syria, offer continued support to UN efforts for a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian conflict, mobilise necessary financial support for Syria and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees, as well as pursuing and deepening our dialogue with civil society.
Reflecting on the outcomes of the Conference, Josep Borrell wrote in his blog: “The EU will continue to engage diplomatically with all actors involved in the Syria conflict – the UN, the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Arab countries and others – to build a consensus that can put an end to the war. In parallel, and this is equally important, we will continue to engage with civil society.”
The Conference also highlighted the importance of the solidarity shown by host countries and communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, as well as other host countries in the region such as Egypt and Iraq while underlining the challenges they face in the medium and long term.