Syria/third international donors’ conference
Four years of civil war. Two hundred and twenty thousand deaths. More than 10 million Syrians chased from their homes. So my first observation will be a statement of the obvious: the best thing we can do to help is to end this appalling conflict. The path is known: it requires an inclusive political solution leading to a genuine democratic transition.
Unfortunately, we must recognize another obvious fact: too many players still prefer war to peace. So we have an obligation, here and now, to help the people trapped between a barbaric regime and Daesh [ISIL].
This conference must involve active efforts from everyone, particularly the countries which have not yet contributed to international solidarity.
Collectively, we are facing up to a threefold responsibility.
1 – Firstly, to help 7.6 million displaced people inside Syria.
In addition to necessary financial resources, the crucial issue arises of access to the people, whose situation is deteriorating. Bashar al-Assad’s regime bears the main responsibility by targeting civilians and increasing the number of obstacles to aid.
The renewal of Resolution 2165 has enabled cross-border operations to be continued. These efforts must be stepped up.
I pay tribute here to Syrian civil society: its dedication is a bulwark against extremism. We must do more to support it.
2 – Our second duty is to help 3.8 million Syrian refugees outside their country.
A whole generation risks being sacrificed.
I welcome the work being done by the UNHCR and all the NGOs – Lebanese, Jordanian and European, particularly French – and the other humanitarian players.
But those refugees will have to be able to return to their homes as quickly as possible. Their humanity and dignity is at stake. Regional security is also at stake.
That’s why M. Laurent Fabius proposed on 27 March that the Security Council set up a specific fund to help refugees return.
3 – Our third responsibility is to help the host countries tackle this crisis and to maintain their stability.
Last week I was in Lebanon, where I was able to see the generosity of that country, which has taken in more than a million refugees – a quarter of its population.
Lebanon can’t face up to this burden alone. France has been making active efforts to address the challenge. All the donors must contribute to this.
Last year France pledged some €20 million for Syria; in the end it raised nearly double that.
This year, in response to your appeal, France is announcing a new €20-million contribution for humanitarian aid and development. France is also contributing some €85 million to the European Union’s effort.
A major share of our aid will fund the World Food Programme’s action in the region, as well as educational programmes by the UNHCR in Lebanon and UNICEF in Jordan.
France will continue its support for solidarity networks in Syria and local councils, in liaison with the Syrian Interim Government. Resources will be devoted to funding programmes to support host communities for refugees in the neighbouring countries, with priority being given to Lebanon and Jordan. Finally, we’ll continue to take in Syrians to our country, as we’ve been doing since the beginning of the crisis.