Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad welcomes Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Damascus yesterday.
DOHA: Qatar yesterday pledged $60m for the aid of Syrian refugees, and bitterly criticised the international community for its silence over the Syrian regime’s refusal to allow safe passage of humanitarian aid for the needy within the country.
The Syrian regime’s attitude towards relief disbursal is not only a crime against the Syrian people but also a crime against the international community, Qatar said.
Taking part in the Donors’ Meeting for Syria in Kuwait, Qatar’s Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah announced Qatar’s $60m aid package for the Syrian refugees and those displaced within the country due to the situation there. “They are exposed to bitter cold in the region,” Al Attiyah said of the refugees and those displaced, in his keynote address to the Second International Conference of the Donors to support the humanitarian cause in Syria.
Due to the speed of aid disbursal, the Foreign Minister said the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had instructed that $23m of the aid amount be presented in coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN through Qatar Red Crescent.
Other donors pledged more than $2.4bn. Kuwait led the pledges, promising $500m. US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a supplementary aid package of $380m, bringing the total US contribution to $1.7bn. Saudi Arabia said it will give $60m in supplementary aid. And the UAE promised a similar amount.
Al Attiyah cited UN reports which suggest that more than half the population of Syria, at home or abroad, are in need of humanitarian assistance. “Some 2.5 million Syrians are living in areas difficult for aid workers to reach,” he told the conference.
Qatar, the Minister reiterated, was with the people of Syria and determined to fulfil its “international obligations and humanitarian duty” towards them (the Syrian people).
Qatar began providing humanitarian aid since the beginning of the Syrian crisis and total aid provided so far is $1bn, he said. “We will continue to provide the aid.”
Qatar will spare no effort in helping the Syrian people achieve their legitimate aspirations for freedom and a decent life.