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Kuwait's humanitarian leadership encourages donors to follow suit


KUWAIT, March 31 (KUNA) -- Kuwait, in yet another demonstration of its humanitarian leadership, hosted a third meeting of donors to help the Syrian people on Tuesday, who pledged USD 3.8 billion, of them USD 500 from Kuwait,, for millions of needy Syrian people.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah answered UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call to host the Third International Pledging Humanitarian Conference for Syria, after hosting the first and the second conferences in 2013 and 2014, collectively pledging USD 2.9 billion.
His Highness the Amir, at the inauguration of the aid-pledging conference earlier today, announced the USD 500 million pledge to help ease suffering of the Syrian people, and urged UN Security Council (UNSC) members states to act and end the conflict politically.
Kuwait government and people have rushed to the help of the Syrian brothers since the onset of the crisis in March 2011, which has entered its fifth year.
However, "in view of the continuity of the tragic situations suffered by our brothers and sisters in Syria, and proceeding from our belief in the importance and the need to convey a message to the Syrian people, that the international community stand by them, feel their suffering, and will not abandon them in their plight, I am pleased to announce the contribution of the State of Kuwait in the amount of USD 500 million from both the governmental and civil sectors, in support of the humanitarian situation" of the Syrian people, His Highness the Amir said.
His Highness the Amir said Kuwait III was held in the face of the "biggest humanitarian catastrophe witnessed by humanity in our contemporary history ... ." He said 90 percent of pledges made at the second donors' conference were honored.
"We are hopeful that your conference will register the generous adequate response to meet the urgent needs of our brothers in Syria," he said.
His Highness the Amir noted that the Syrian conflict has transformed streets and neighborhoods of Syria into rubble, the buildings into ruins, and the people of Syria became merely casualty figures of death and displacement.
"The frightening figures and documented data, about the economic and social impact of the crisis, published lately by international organizations, based on research studies, reveal that destruction is the headline in every region in Syria, without exception," said Highness the Amir.
He said the crisis killed more than 210,000 people, displaced some 12 million others internally and in neighboring countries, all of them live in harsh conditions, and in tragic humanitarian situations." The catastrophe in Syria has also deprived two million Syrian children, under 18 years of age, of their most basic rights in education and healthcare, which threatens the future of an entire generation, leaving them to face a gloomy future, and depriving their country of their active participation in building it, said His Highness the Amir.
The Syrian economy suffered more than USD 200 billion in losses, unemployment rate stands at 57 percent, while the life expectancy rate has dropped to 55 years, the rates of poverty have risen, and the number of Syrian refugees outside the country is 3.9 million people, the biggest refugee society in the world, said the Kuwaiti leader.
The crisis in Syria created safe havens for terrorist groups who use the state of instability to carry out their "sinister plans," His Highness the Amir said.
His Highness Sheikh Sabah paid tribute to the five neighboring countries hosting some 3.9 million Syrian refugees - Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt - which have been offering immense humanitarian and relief services, despite the heavy burden on their economies and security.
His Highness the Amir also thanked all UN agencies working on the ground, specially UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and OHCA.
His Highness the Amir urged the UN Security Council to put their differences aside to end the conflict, stop the bloodshed, cease grave human rights violations and punish those who committed crimes against the Syrian people.
The only comprehensive political solutions should be based on the communique of the 2012 Geneva I conference, he said, and affirmed support for efforts of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General to Syria Staffan De Mistura.

Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) met in Kuwait yesterday and contributed to the pledge with USD 506 million.
Kuwait III brought together representatives from 78 countries, 40 international organizations and over 100 NGOs.
All of them expressed gratitude for His Highness the Amir, who was honored by the UN last September as a "Humanitarian Leader," and Kuwait as a "Humanitarian Center," for accepting to host Kuwait III.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Kuwaitis should be proud of their nation's major role in assisting those in need around the world, Syria in particular.
Speaking at a press conference after the conclusion of the the conference, he said this was a great example of international coordination on the cause.
The international community has taken a huge step forward through pledging this amount, he said, promised by both governments and NGOs to the conflict which has entered a fifth year.
The sum will be go into supporting the Syria Strategic Response Plan (SRP) and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (ERP) inside and outside of Syria, he said.
These initiatives will aim to overcome shortfalls in neighbouring countries address pressure placed on their infrastructure and economies through focusing on sustainable development, he said.
Pledges made at Kuwait II and I in 2014 and 2013, he said, contributed to providing food to over five million people every month, provided millions with access to clean drinking water, handed 17.5 million the opportunity for healthcare and allowed two million children to receive an education, he revealed.
Going on to point out the fierce conflict which does not seem to offer any distant solution thus far, he said many people continue to lose their homes as more and more hospitals and schools are being destroyed on a daily basis.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said large participation in Kuwait III contributed to its success.
Addressing the final session of the one-day conference, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said this large participation affirmed "that we the international community are capable of unifying efforts to keep working to provide basic humanitarian needs for the brothers in Syria." The international community has sent a clear message that it should stop the immediately bloodshed in Syria, he said.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled hoped the pledges would contribute to alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled thanked international humanitarian organizations working on the ground and helping the Syrian people, as well as extended gratitude for the NGOs for their USD 506 million contributions they made yesterday.
"We hope this (contribution) addresses agony of people who suffered from killing, hunger and displacement for five years, and are still subjected to murder ...," said the senior Kuwaiti official. (pickup previous) bs