Publié le 25 avril 2018 - 18:14:52
François Vieira - EPI Agency
Photographe de presse à Bruxelles
We had the pleasure to chair yesterday and today the Second Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region". It was for me a particular pleasure to co-host and to co-chair it with the United Nations, and I would like to start from this point. It is very clear that the European Union and the United Nations, together, are some sort of natural partners in all different fields, but in particular on the humanitarian work and on the Syrian crisis. I am very grateful and happy about this partnership, and I would also like to pay tribute to the involvement of the Secretary General of the United Nations [António Guterres] who opened our Conference today, via video message.
At this international Conference we gathered today, at ministerial level, representatives of over 85 countries and international organisations, international and Syrian civil society, and we built on last year's Conference that we also co-hosted here in Brussels. 85 very different delegations, together, from the Prime Minister of Lebanon [Saad Al-Hariri], the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey [Recep Akdağ], the Foreign Minister of Jordan [Ayman H. Safadi] and Iraq [Ibrahim Al-Jaafari] - just to mention the neighbours of Syria -, to representatives of Russia, the United States, China, Japan. I would also like to thank the Foreign Ministers for their presence here – from South Korea, to all the Member States of the European Union, but also international organisations. They all spend this day with us, trying to identify common ground. The Conference is bringing together Foreign Ministers of countries that normally do not spend much time together, like the Foreign Ministers of Iran, of Saudi Arabia, of Qatar - just to mention a few.
And I would say that this is the first result of today - having this diversity around the table, respect - all delegations listening to each other - and trying to identify some common ground. Obviously, differences did not disappear over these few hours of talks - and we never expected that - but I believe that we can say that we identified common ground on at least two or three issues. One is that there is no military solution to the war in Syria, and that there is a need - recognised by everybody - to relaunch the political process. In a moment like this, I believe that this common assessment is an important element, especially for the work that [UN Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan [De Mistura] will have to continue.
The second element on which I have not heard any divergent views is the key role of the United Nations in leading this political process. And this is extremely important for us, the European Union, because we have always consistently identified in the United Nations and in Staffan De Mistura the only legitimate leadership to ensure that the political process is meaningful, is inclusive, represents all Syrians in intra-Syrian talks, and happens along the lines of the UN Security Council resolutions already adopted. The third element on which I have seen a consistent level of convergence is the need to support Syrians, inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries, with humanitarian aid, with financial support, but also to support hosting communities, in particular in the neighbouring countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, but also Iraq and Egypt.
Obviously, in this regard, I am sure that [UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator] Mark [Lowcock] will elaborate further. I would expect that the level of financial contribution, the pledges that we will gather today can guarantee that the international community continues to support Syrians in these difficult times. I announced at the beginning of the Conference that the level of pledges from the European Union budget is going to be continued and sustained at the same level as last year, not only for this year but also for next year. I mentioned the numbers already this morning, but again, I am sure that Undersecretary General will be more precise on the expected pledges that you can have today. Obviously, as you know, the Conference will go on this afternoon, so, more will come during the rest of the day.
But let me say one last point: there was one other political element that all the delegations recognised and shared, and that is the role of the Syrian civil society. We listened to not only one, not only two, but three elaborated, long interventions from representatives of the civil society - by the way, let me underline two women and a man - bringing to us a very in-depth analysis of the situation, of the needs and of the hopes of Syrians. And we want - I think collectively - to pay tribute to the work that Syrians are doing, both inside the country and outside the country, to help their fellow citizens, but also to try and build the basis for reconciliation and the rebuilding of the social fabric of the country once the war will be over.
I will stop here and I’ll immediately pass the floor to Under-Secretary-General [for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator] of the United Nations [Mark Lowcock].