Amir announces $500 million pledge for Syrian people

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attends the opening ceremony of the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, at Bayan Palace

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah attends the opening ceremony of the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, at Bayan Palace

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday announced $500 million pledge for the Syrian people to help ease their suffering, urging UN Security Council (UNSC) members states to act and end the conflict politically. Kuwait government and people have rushed to the help of the Syrian brothers since the onset of the crisis in March 2011, which has entered its fifth year. However, “in view of the continuity of the tragic situations suffered by our brothers and sisters in Syria, and proceeding from our belief in the importance and the need to convey a message to the Syrian people, that the international community stand by them, feel their suffering, and will not abandon them in their plight, I am pleased to announce the contribution of the State of Kuwait in the amount of $500 million from both the governmental and civil sectors, in support of the humanitarian situation” of the Syrian people, HH the Amir said. Addressing the Third International Pledging Humanitarian Conference for Syria, HH the Amir said that Kuwait III was held in the face of the “biggest humanitarian catastrophe witnessed by humanity in our contemporary history.” Kuwait hosted the first and second pledging conferences in 2013 and 2014, noted HH the Amir. He said 90 percent of pledges made at the second conference were honored. “We are hopeful that your conference will register the generous adequate response to meet the urgent needs of our brothers in Syria,” he said.

Casualty figures HH the Amir noted that the Syrian conflict has transformed streets and neighborhoods of Syria into rubble, the buildings into ruins, and the people of Syria became merely casualty figures of death and displacement. “The frightening figures and documented data, about the economic and social impact of the crisis, published lately by international organizations, based on research studies, reveal that destruction is the headline in every region in Syria, without exception,” said HH the Amir. He said the crisis killed more than 210,000 people, displaced some 12 million others internally and in neighboring countries, all of them live in harsh conditions, and in tragic humanitarian situations.” The catastrophe in Syria has also deprived two million Syrian children, under 18 years of age, of their most basic rights in education and healthcare, which threatens the future of an entire generation, leaving them to face a gloomy future, and depriving their country of their active participation in building it, said HH the Amir.

Syrian economy The Syrian economy suffered more than $200 billion in losses, unemployment rate stands at 57 percent, while the life expectancy rate has dropped to 55 years, the rates of poverty have risen, and the number of Syrian refugees outside the country is 3.9 million people, the biggest refugee society in the world, said the Kuwaiti leader. The crisis in Syria created safe havens for terrorist groups who use the state of instability to carry out their “sinister plans,” HH the Amir said. HH Sheikh Sabah paid tribute to the five neighboring countries hosting some 3.9 million Syrian refugees – Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt – which have been offering immense humanitarian and relief services, despite the heavy burden on their economies and security. HH the Amir also thanked all UN agencies working on the ground, especially UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and OHCA. HH the Amir urged the UN Security Council to put their differences aside to end the conflict, stop the bloodshed, cease grave human rights violations and punish those who committed crimes against the Syrian people. The only comprehensive political solutions should be based on the communique of the 2012 Geneva I conference, he said, and affirmed support for efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General to Syria Staffan De Mistura.—KUNA

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