Brussels Donors’ Meeting: Much A Do About Nothing

The European Union and the United Nations co-chaired the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the future of Syria and the region, on 12-14 March 2019. While the Conference achieved some good results, it overlooked other issues that we believe are very important. 57 countries and more than 20 international organisations and UN agencies came together to participate in an international conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region. On 12-13 March, the ‘days of dialogue’ brought together more than 1000 participants: civil society representatives from Syria and the region, ministers and decision-makers from countries neighbouring Syria, donor countries, regional organisations, UN agencies, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. They discussed key themes affecting the Syrian people and the international response to the crisis. The conference renewed its rejection of normalization with the regime, but some European diplomats expressed concern about changing the direction of international aid and directing it to areas of the regime. Part of the funding provided by the European Union and its country members should be used for the reconstruction of Syria, which was devastated during eight years of war, but the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, warned that these funds “will only be transferred if a credible peace process begins in Geneva Under the auspices of the United Nations “. “The Syrian regime must be present at the negotiating table in Geneva,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. “We hope that in the coming months we can move the political situation. That would allow the start of reconstruction and the return of refugees,” he said.

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