Belgium pleads to end impunity at Syria conference in Brussels

Deputy Prime Minister and minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo has pleaded on behalf of Belgium to end impunity at the conference ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ in Brussels. This appeal comes a day after news of gas attacks in the Syrian province Idlib. Belgium remains committed to providing humanitarian support to Syria and its neighbouring countries. Since last year, Belgium has committed 143 million euro humanitarian assistance, almost doubling its pledge.
 
Alexander De Croo: “The despicable toxic gas attack in Idlib province yesterday is yet another proof of the fact that some parties to the conflict still believe in military solutions. They are mistaken, but how many lives need to be lost before they come to this conclusion themselves?”
 
“On a daily basis we witness blatant violations of the cease fire agreement. This must end.  An effective monitoring mechanism needs to be set up urgently to make sure that violators of the agreement are held responsible for their actions.”
 
Yesterday’s gas attack and the recent reports of the Commission of Inquiry of the UN have once again demonstrated the need to fight impunity. That is why Belgium has supported the UN resolution adopted last December to create a mechanism that collects evidence of these horrendous crimes. It is essential that this mechanism is set up as soon as possible.

 
Doubling humanitarian efforts

Belgium remains committed to providing support to Syria’s neighbouring states Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. We commend the hospitality of these countries and acknowledge the enormous strain it has put on their population. Since last year, Belgium committed 143 million euro in humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighbouring states, almost doubling the amount pledged at last year’s London Conference.
 
Alexander De Croo: “During the London conference, Belgium pledged 75 million euro over 2016 and 2017 for the Syrian crisis. We have largely surpassed this pledge. Instead of 75 million euro we have already disbursed or committed 143 million EUR in humanitarian actions in Syria and its neighboring countries.”
 
Minister De Croo concluded his intervention by thanking EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura for their tireless efforts in bringing the parties together. “We also understand the difficulty for the opposition to debate the future of Syria with members of the Assad-regime but there is no alternative to the Geneva-process.”

Read  here (PDF, 294.92 KB) the speech of Minister De Croo.