Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini together with representatives of the international community will attend the Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" from 24 to 25 April.
The Conference aims to support the UN-led political process and to agree about additional measures to help those affected by the crisis. The Brussels Conference in April is the sixth pledging conference for Syria. The UN's appeal of approximately EUR 7.36 billion for Syria is a record high.
"A sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict can only be achieved through UN-led political negotiations. The permanent members of the UN Security Council have a central responsibility in this matter. Not only is the war in Syria, which has continued for seven years, a vast humanitarian catastrophe; it is also an immense regional development crisis. Within Syria, 13.1 million people are in need of protection and humanitarian aid – more than half of them children and young people," Foreign Minister Timo Soini says.
The conference is attended by not only the EU and Syria’s neighboring countries but also by a large number of representatives of the international community: the United Nations, major donors and civil society, humanitarian organisations and development cooperation agencies. The Conference will also assess the international community's progress in fulfilling the commitments made a year ago. Finland has systematically shouldered its responsibility and contributed the pledged assistance: Finland's pledge for 2018 is EUR 25 million. Half of this, EUR 12.6 million, will be in the form of humanitarian aid.
Despite the UN Security Council resolution demanding the cessation of hostilities, adopted in February, the parties to the conflict have not allowed unimpeded access to aid deliveries.
"Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are continuing in Syria. It is important to address the matter and take action to ensure that the deliveries reach their destination," Soini emphasises.
Finland’s support to the victims of the Syrian conflict is divided between humanitarian aid to alleviate immediate suffering and help refugees, and development cooperation strengthening local communities' resilience especially in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Humanitarian aid is linked, among others, with healthcare, food and other emergency relief materials, and shelter. Development cooperation is divided into support to the political process and efforts to combat impunity; livelihoods and basic services within Syria; and support for the resilience of neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Finland’s priorities include women, children, education and job creation. Finland also intends to continue to support the grassroots-level peacebuilding and mediation initiatives in Syria.
Inquiries: Jussi Tanner, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 352 0947; questions concerning humanitarian assistance: Claus Lindroos, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel. +358 40 132 1416; other questions: Jussi Nummelin, Unit for the Middle East and North Africa, tel. +358 50 430 2018.
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