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Kuwait FM thanks nations for USD 2.4 bn pledges at conference
January 15, 2014, 9:45 pm

Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah thanked nations attending a conference on Syria here for pledging over USD 2.4 billion for Syrian humanitarian efforts.

Some 62 nations took part, along with 14 UN agencies of various relief functions, and four regional organizations, he told the press conference held at the conclusion of the event on Wednesday. "The event comes in response to a second appeal launched by the UN in light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and acute shortage in basic necessities," he said.

The crisis has also taken a toll on surrounding nations, which have had to accept the influx of huge numbers of refugees, he described as "unprecedented in modern history" "It is because of this, that we must continue to pursue efforts in providing the adequate financial resources aimed at providing support for the UN and its specialized agencies - in order to meet the basic requirements of the Syrian people," he added.

The Kuwaiti government provided USD 500 million in donations to the cause.  In response to a question on what the amount Kuwait donated would be spent on, he said it would be placed in the hands of United Nations agencies and bodies, which will use the funds to ease the suffering of the people of Syria. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the increase of the amount, from USD 1.5 billion, last year, to over USD 2.4 billion, illustrated the worsening of the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

On this, he highlighted numbers of four million internally displaced by the fighting along with 700,000 refugees, last year, which has increased dramatically this year to almost half the population displaced and three million refugees. "We have to help them," he said. "We said that we needed USD 6.5 billion, and we will continue to appeal," he added.

Asked about the media's role, he commended the role of journalists who travel into the affected areas to illustrate the happenings. "I appreciate your role," he told the journalist who had asked the question. On a question about Iran's involvement in the upcoming Geneva II talks in a week, he said it was "very important" and that Iran was a "very important country in the region," although, he said that its attendance had not yet been finalized

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