Germany to give additional €1 billion in aid to Syria | News | DW | 25.04.2018
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Germany to give additional €1 billion in aid to Syria

Berlin is upping its aid to Syria and refugees in the region, pledging to deliver an extra €1 billion. The UN has urged donor countries to contribute, warning that 13 million people are in need of emergency aid.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced on Wednesday that Germany will donate an additional €1 billion ($1.22 billion) in aid to Syria and neighboring countries who are hosting Syrian refugees.

"In Syria alone there are still more than 13 million people who are dependent on humanitarian aid," Maas said as he arrived in Brussels for a donor conference for Syria.

"We must not leave the people of Syria alone," he added.

The Foreign Ministry announced that another €300 million could be tacked on to Germany's pledge once the German government finalizes its budget this summer.

Alongside Germany's concerns over the "protection of the civilian population," Maas emphasized that Germany was "strongly committed to the effort" to restart the political process to resolve the conflict.

During last year's United Nations aid drive for Syria, Germany was the largest donor and has contributed around €4.5 billion in aid to Syria since 2012.

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Emergency aid lacking

Over 80 delegations from dozens of countries are participating in the two-day donor conference, which is being co-hosted by the UN and the European Union.

The UN and the EU hope not only to mobilize financial support to aid Syria and neighboring countries, but to also revive the stalled Geneva peace talks.

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The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Russia, Turkey and Iran to work together to bring a halt to fighting and to bring Syrian President Bashar Assad back to the negotiating table.

"We call on them to go back to their efforts to de-escalate from a military point of view and most of all to exercise political pressure on Damascus for the beginning of meaningful negotiations," Mogherini said.

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More donations needed

The UN hopes donors at this year's conference will surpass the $9 billion (€7.4 billion) in emergency humanitarian aid that it said is needed to help Syrians in the country and refugees in neighboring countries.

The head of the UN aid agency, Mark Lowcock, said on Wednesday that the $4.4 billion received so far was a "good start," but that it "did not go nearly far enough."

The EU has pledged some €560 million, while the US and several other countries have not yet confirmed any donations because of budget disputes.

Donors pledged $6 billion at last year's conference in Brussels.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced in Syria during the country's seven-year civil war. Millions of Syrian refugees are being hosted in neighboring countries including Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, as well as in Germany.

amp, rs/kms (dpa, Reuters)

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