$100m Qatar aid to Syrian opposition

February 21, 2013 - 2:27:55 am

The Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Doha yesterday. Talks covered cooperation between the two countries and regional developments, specially in Syria.

DOHA: Close on the heels of a decision to hand over the Syrian Embassy in Qatar to the Syrian opposition, Qatar provided financial support worth $100m to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

The aid, which comes under the directives of the Deputy Emir and Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has been handed over to the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit in Syria.

Nazar Al Haraki,  the new Syrian ambassador to Qatar representing the National Coalition, appreciated the gesture, saying it reflected how deeply the Qatari government and its people have been involved to solve the Syrian crisis and reduce the suffering of the Syrian people.

The British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was in Doha on a short visit, said that Britain would be amending the arms embargo as agreed by the European Union on Monday which will allow it to send military equipment to rebels in Syria.

Hague met the Heir Apparent and H E Khaled bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and discussed the Syrian crisis, along with several bilateral issues. The meeting came two days after European Union foreign ministers stopped short of meeting Britain’s demand to lift an arms embargo on Syria but agreed to allow “non-lethal” aid and “technical assistance” to flow to the opposition.

“We would amend the embargo and this will expand the kind of practical support we can give for saving lives of the people of Syria, in particular to the National Coalition. I will announce once we have agreed the exact terms of the amendments and once we have made the necessary decisions what assistance that will be, but I’m determined that we will be able to send equipment that will save many more lives in Syria,” Hague told Al Jazeera yesterday.

“It won’t end the crisis on its own, but too many people are dying and we should do more to help, and we have to be ready to change our policy in order to help more,” he added. He, however, said the UK had no plans to send lethal equipment to the Syrian opposition at the moment.

“We will send other equipment that will help them in this situation. I don’t think any option at all should be ruled out to save the lives of the Syrian people,” said Hague.

Asked why the UK refused to hand the Syrian Embassy to the National Coalition, he hinted that the decision is not final.

“We are working with their (the national coalition) representative in London to make sure they are properly represented there. I hope the day will come when they’ll have the embassy, but that depends on the events that happen in the next few weeks and months… I hope the day will come when they are able to take over all the premises of the Syrian government in the world,” he said.

The Peninsula


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