Middle East

EU opens week-long conference on Syria and surrounding region

The European Union on Monday announced the start of the fourth Brussels Conference, “Supporting the future of Syria and the region.” The virtual conference, which is held in partnership with the UN, will take place from June 22 to June 30.

The conference is intending to help raise funding pledges for Syrians, and to engage civil society organizations from Syria and neighboring countries.

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borell remarked on the conference, saying that, “Syrians have suffered for too long. After nine years of conflict, there is a risk that the world becomes immune to the pictures and accounts of unacceptable and unnecessary suffering but we cannot allow that to happen; we cannot ignore their plight. It is our moral duty to continue supporting the people of Syria. The Conference aims to further mobilize the international community behind UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the Syria crisis in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254. This is the only way to bring back stability and peace for all Syrians.”

Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič added that, “The humanitarian situation in Syria is at even greater risk as the coronavirus pandemic threatens the most vulnerable. The EU will not abandon the Syrian people in most urgent need for assistance inside the country as well as in the region.”

The first two days of the conference, dubbed “Days of Dialogue,” feature panel discussions with guests from a broad variety of governmental and non-governmental institutions. The remainder of the conference, meanwhile, will include a number of side events, such as a session on “regional response and recovery in the face of coronavirus crisis,” and another on “immediate needs in response to the humanitarian situation.” A full schedule can be downloaded here, and commissioners’ remarks will be made available online.

Borrell on June 30 will co-chair the segment of the conference in which 80 delegates from neighboring countries, partner countries, EU Member States and international organizations will gather to discuss diverse aspects of the Syrian crisis. This will also be the time during which political commitments and pledges will be made.

A virtual exhibition “Voices from Syria and the region,” which is funded by the EU, has also just been made available online. The exhibition aims to display the strength, resilience and diversity of the Syrian people in the face of ongoing conflict and strife.


Image: A picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen on a door of a butcher shop, during a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Damascus, Syria April 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Yamam Al Shaar)

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