April 4, 2017
The Brussels Conference Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region (#SyriaConf2017), hosted by the European Union and co-chaired with Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar, the United Kingdom and the United Nations, is taking place on 4–5 April. Ahead of the main conference event tomorrow, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini will hold today a series of bilateral meetings and will also meet with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. They will hold a joint press point at 16:00 CET, live on EbS. Thematic sessions are also taking place today, focusing on various aspects of international support provided in response to the crisis in Syria and the region. Commissioner Stylianides opened (speech here)the thematic session “Humanitarian aid Inside Syria – Needs challenges and the way forward” this morning, more information on this side event will be made available later today here. Later in the afternoon, Commissioner Hahn will address the “Supporting the resilience of host countries and refugees” session. The interventions by the Commissioners are available live on EbS. All thematic sessions will feed into the main discussions tomorrow. Tomorrow, the main conference event will bring together ministerial representatives from over 70 delegations, from the EU and the region, but also the wider international community, the United Nations, major donors and civil society, and humanitarian and development organisations. The conference will begin with the arrival of the delegations at 7:30 CET; a ministerial meeting and the session on “Supporting the future of Syria“, which HR/VP Mogherini will chair, will take place in the morning. It will be followed by a live press conference by all co-chairs at +/- 13:00 CET. Commissioner Hahn and Commissioner Stylianides will then co-chair the afternoon sessions on “Supporting the region and the refugees-implementation of London commitments and the way ahead” and “Syria – humanitarian assistance and resilience” respectively. All media opportunities will be transmitted here. For more information on the conference, including the indicative programme, media advisories, and background information, visit the website.
Addressing the gap between the needed and the available financial assistance and finding political solutions for the war-torn country are heading the agenda for the international conference on Syria to take place in Brussels on 4-5 April. The EU is gearing up, together with the UN and 5 European and Gulf states for the biggest diplomatic effort for Syria this year.
We want to bring the international community – the donors and the neighbours, the national and the regional players, the international organisations and the civil society to sit together and talk on the future of Syria a senior EU diplomat said ahead of the meeting.
The financial assistance for Syria, provided by its most generous donor – the EU, is still under the 10% mark of the aid which would be needed when a lasting political settlement is agreed. Since the beginning of the conflict EU member states have given 9,4 billion EUR to Syria – related projects. At the same time, according to the EU humanitarian aid commissioner Christos Stylianides, current needs including for humanitarian assistance, are estimated to at least 120-200 billion EUR.
Brussels conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” shares not only its title with the donors’ meeting in London Supporting Syria and the Region in February 2016, but also the co-chairing parties: the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and Qatar are to lead the debates together with the EU and UN.
The main goals of the forum are set to be providing additional financing for 2017, increasing support for the neighbouring countries and accelerating the peace talks in Geneva. The conference will also address how to monitor if donor countries are delivering the financial assistance they have pledged and will discuss the various visions for the reconstruction of Syria.
The participants are expected to give their explicit support for peace talks in Geneva in hope to “accelerate the process”, the EU senior diplomatic source revealed. He also pointed out that the conference will honour the efforts of countries in the region hosting millions Syrian refugees particularly Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and will reaffirm commitments to share the burdens with them.
According to an EU diplomat most of the money for 2016 out of the 11 billion to 2020 promised in London has been provided It is expected that additional pledges for financial assistance will be made next week in Brussels, following the UN record appeal for 8 billion dollars fro Syria in 2017. The EU is to confirm its promise for €1,2 billion.
The conference will also draw on EU initiative to build consensus on the future of Syria as “democratic, inclusive, peaceful and secure” country. The senior diplomat said EU stays firm Syria should remain a single state after the war but the real reconstruction of the country could only start when the genuine transition is agreed upon and is being implemented. He avoided the question weather the reconciliation is possible while president Assad is still in power saying EU hasn’t change its position from last October.
The EU foreign ministers are expected to give the final political touches of the Union’s position during their meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, 3 April.
13,5 million refugees are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria. 6,5 million of them are displaced in the country and 4,5 million are being hosted in the neighbouring states and beyond.
Video message of Federica Mogherini ahead of Brussels Conference
Council conclusions on Syria
EU support for Syrian refugees and host communities