Wednesday, July 30, 2014


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UN Gets Less Than Half Of Syrian Aid It Sought

The opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at the Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Kuwait City on January 15.
The opening session of the Syrian Donors Conference at the Bayan Palace Liberation Hall in Kuwait City on January 15.
Donors meeting in Kuwait have pledged some $2.4 billion in humanitarian aid for victims of the Syrian war, less than half the amount sought by the United Nations.

The January 15 meeting aimed to raise $6.5 billion to help Syrians affected by nearly three years of war, the largest-ever funding request for a single crisis.

Addressing the gathering, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 9.3 million people inside Syria are in need of assistance.

Some 6.5 million people are now displaced inside Syria. There are also about 2 million Syrian refugees in camps in neighboring countries.

EU countries pledged $753 million and Kuwait $500 million.

The United States promised a supplementary aid package of $380 million.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar pledged $60 million each.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is chairing the conference in Kuwait, which opened one week before peace talks on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 22.

Iranian Foreign Minister Arrives In Damascus

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meanwhile met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ahead of the Geneva peace talks next week.

Syrian state media quoted Zarif as saying the purpose of his visit was to help ensure that the January 22 conference -- dubbed Geneva-2 -- "brings about results that are in the interests of the Syrian people."

Iran is a key ally of the Syrian regime.

Russia would like Iran to take part in the Geneva talks, but the United States has said Tehran can participate only if it agrees to earlier diplomatic agreements that any transitional government in Syria would not include Assad or his close allies.

The United States has condemned a visit by Zarif to lay a wreath at the Beirut grave of Imad Mugniyah, a former Hizballah leader who Washington says was responsible for "heinous acts of terrorism."

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Zarif's decision sends the wrong message and worsens regional tensions. 


Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

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