Al-Jubeir: Consensus on Syria will lead to pullback of Iran forces

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Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that the resolution of the Syrian crisis will lead to the withdrawal of Iranian forces and militias from the region.

He was speaking in Brussels at the conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” at the European Council on Thursday.

In his speech, Al-Jubeir said that there is a consensus on starting the diplomatic process in Syria after the formation of the constitutional committee.

Al-Jubeir stressed to Al Arabiya on the importance of the return of the refugees to their country amidst safe conditions.

$7 billion aid pledged for Syria in 2019

International donors pledged nearly $7 billion aid for 2019 for civilians caught up in Syria's bloody civil war, the EU said Thursday, but the total fell short of what the UN says is needed.

EU Humanitarian Commissioner Christos Stylianides announced the total at the end of a three-day conference in Brussels, on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the start of the conflict.

The European Union led the pledges with two billion euros, but the conference failed to drum up the $9 billion the United Nations said was needed to help the millions of Syrians forced to flee the country as well as those facing a humanitarian crisis at home.

Despite the shortfall, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said he was “very pleased with the outcome” but stressed that only a political solution could end the misery endured by Syrians as a result of the war.

Before the conference, the UN estimated that $5.5 billion (4.4 billion euros) are needed to help the approximately 5.6 million Syrians forced to flee their country, most to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

A further $3.3 billion is needed for populations inside Syria facing a humanitarian situation described by the Medecins du Monde aid agency as “unsustainable”.

Germany pledged 1.44 billion euros, Washington almost $400 million and Britain some £400 million (464 million euros).

Al-Jubeir held meetings during the conference with UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock and UK’s envoy to Syria Martin Longden.

“Syria remains one of the great crises of our time,” Lowcock said as the pledging conference opened in Brussels.

He expressed deep concern about the threat of open conflict in Syria’s northern Idlib province, where more than 90 people were killed last month, nearly half of them children.

“A large-scale military assault on Idlib would create the worst humanitarian catastrophe the world has seen in the 21st Century,” Lowcock said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU, which is hosting the conference along with the United Nations, hopes that the donor meeting will give impetus to stalled peace talks under UN auspices.

“We want the people of Syria not to be forgotten in a moment where the international community seems to care a little bit less about this,” she said. “We have to keep focused on a political solution for the conflict in Syria. It’s not over yet. People need our support.”

But beyond providing aid, the EU refuses to help rebuild the country until a political settlement has been reached.

(With AFP)

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