The State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ildefonso Castro, represented Spain on Wednesday, 5 April at the conference to support the future of Syria and the region organised by the European Union and co-chaired by the United Nations, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway and Kuwait, in the same way as at the conference held in London in February 2016, with the addition of Qatar on this occasion.
70 countries and organisations took part in the conference, the aims of which were political and humanitarian. The goal was to provide continuity to the commitments announced in London, amounting to some 12 billion dollars, announce new contributions and send out a firm message of support for a political solution to the Syrian conflict within the framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
The conference was held against the backdrop of the commotion caused by Tuesday’s attacks in the province of Idleb and the virtually unanimous condemnation of the participant countries.
The State secretary stressed Spain’s condemnation of this attack, called for an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons and the need for those responsible for war crimes to be brought to justice.
He recalled Spain’s balanced and constructive position, its support for open and substantial dialogue between all the parties and for a solution to the conflict in Syria based on UN Resolution 2254, which establishes a genuine and inclusive political transition headed up by the people of Syria. The State secretary reaffirmed Spain’s support for the work as a facilitator of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
The State secretary underlined the urgent need to consolidate the cessation in hostilities agreed in the Astana process and to allow uninterrupted access to humanitarian aid throughout Syria. He called on Russia, Turkey and Iran, as the guarantors of the ceasefire agreement to exercise their influence on the parties to ensure that they are fully committed to complying with the agreement. He recalled Spain’s efforts on a humanitarian level during its two-year period on the United Nations Security Council, quoting, among other initiatives, Resolution 2286 on medical neutrality in armed conflicts, which was pushed through by Spain.
Spain reiterated its gratitude to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, among others, for their generosity in taking in Syrian refugees. Spain fully shares the position of the European Union in agreeing to the reconstruction of Syria at the start of a political transition. However, it is necessary to generate the right conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees. Accordingly, it is necessary to work on stabilisation tasks, the resilience of the civilian population and the provision of basic needs and services.
Lastly, the State secretary recalled that since the start of the conflict, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AECID) has contributed 40 million euros in aid to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria and its neighbouring countries. He also highlighted that Spain has comprehensively complied with the 7 million dollar commitment it took on in London and announced a new initial contribution for 2017 of a further 8 million euros.
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