Donor nations pledge $11B for Syria

Syria donor conference raises $11 billion for next four years, British PM says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) speaks as leaders of Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L-R) listen on Feb. 4, 2016

A conference of leaders and diplomats from 70 countries have raised $11 billion for Syrian humanitarian needs over the next four years, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday during the event in London.

Cameron said that donor nations have pledged $6 billion for this year alone, and a further $5 billion will be spent by 2020 to help millions of Syrians displaced by war and in an attempt to slow down the chaotic exodus of refugees to Europe.

Previous aid conferences for Syria had failed to meet their targets. Last year, just half of its $7 billion target was raised in Kuwait, forcing cuts to programs such as refugee food aid.

Neither the Syrian regime nor rebel groups attended the conference.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the $11 billion pledged at the conference is so far the biggest amount of money raised in a single day for a single humanitarian crisis.

The conference in London also discussed plans to create economic incentives for countries that are dealing with the strain of housing millions of newcomers.

"The EU will do everything to improve the export conditions of theses countries, that includes looking into trade preferences," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the news conference, speaking after Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, which host the vast majority of Syria's over 4 million refugees.

Speaking at the same event, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey alone has more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees and tens of thousands more are on their way.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks at the donors Conference for Syria in London, Britain February 4, 2016.

He added that whatever the cost his country's door would remain open to all Syrians.

On Wednesday, European Union countries approved a fund worth 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) for Turkey to aid mainly Syrian refugees in the country in exchange for Ankara ensuring to help curb the refugee flow after over a million people reached Europe last year.

In January, Davutoglu said that Turkey, as the most affected country by the refugee crisis, was not begging for money from the EU, but expected the international community to share the burden.

“Turkey has spent close to $10 billion on the refugees," Davutoglu said.

TRTWorld and agencies