$1.6bn European aid for Syria, neighbours
Manama, July 1, 2013
The European Union (EU) has donated 1.25 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in humanitarian and other support for Syria and neighbouring countries, a report said.
Lebanon and Jordan will also benefit from the aid package, which aims to help promote regional stability and security, said the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"We must continue to work together to address regional challenges of common concern, in particular the crisis in Syria," said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
"We need to defuse the tensions and work together for peace in Syria and also deal with increased sectarian tensions in Lebanon and Iraq as a spill-over of the Syrian crisis."
The official said the EU will shortly hand over the comprehensive assistance package worth 400 million euros for the Syrians.
Additional funds for Lebanon and Jordan will take the aid package to 1.25 billion euros.
"Lebanon is coping with Syrian refugees and dealing with their own problems," said Ashton. "The EU's objective remains to end the suffering of the Syrian people through a political settlement."
She was backed by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who said the Syrian people were being subjected to internal and external aggression.
"We need to pursue serious and common action to save the Syrian people from the unprecedented humanitarian tragedy they are experiencing at this crucial period of their history, especially after the confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government and the intervention of Hizbollah," he said.
Speaking as he chaired the 23rd EU-GCC joint council and ministerial meeting in Bahrain, Shaikh Khalid said the meeting came at a time of critical global transition.
"Terrorism is the most serious threat facing the international community, as it has no religion, sect, or homeland and contradicts all faiths and religions," he said.
"This has been clearly illustrated by the US Boston Marathon Bombing, the tragic death of a British soldier in London, as well as by the continuous attacks against the security forces in the Kingdom of Bahrain."
Shaikh Khalid said lessons could be learned from the European experience in evolving gradual reforms, while respecting the interests of each country, in particular concerning security and stability.
He also reviewed the latest developments in the Palestinian situation and commended the position of the EU in supporting the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). – TradeArabia News Service