Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region
Wednesday 25. April 2018
Statement by H.E. Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We gather here in Brussels today, just like we did a year ago, in the aftermath of an attack where chemical weapons appear to have been used. Last year, our conference was held after the horrendous attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, and today we are meeting under the black cloud of the events in the city of Douma two weeks ago.
I can only reiterate Iceland´s strong condemnation of all use of chemical weapons. To ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous violations of international law, as well as other war-crimes, are held accountable, Iceland strongly supports the establishment and mandate of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria and urges the UN Secretary-General to propose a budget line for the mechanism to the UN General Assembly.
This second Brussels conference aims to renew and strengthen the political, financial, and humanitarian commitment of the international community to support the Syrian people, the neighbouring countries, and the communities most affected by the crisis.
Iceland will continue to support all efforts that may contribute to a political settlement. The people of Syria have suffered for seven long years, with casualties running in the hundreds of thousands. Anyone who is in a position to affect the situation must do so and do so now. We call on the Security Council to rise to the challenge and find a way forward.
Ladies and gentlemen
In the absence of peace and security it is imperative that we continue to care for those in need, and to provide humanitarian assistance for suffering civilians; both those still in Syria and those, who have fled and taken shelter in neighbouring countries. We must also pay tribute to the states and individuals that have generously opened their doors to those.
Iceland will continue to provide support. Through cooperation with UNHCR we have offered homes to more than 150 Syrian refugees in the past three years and expect our close partnership with the Agency will continue. Furthermore, last year, at the first Brussels conference, I pledged we would provide a minimum of 7 million dollars from 2017 to 2020. We will honour that commitment and I am glad to be able to announce today that our contribution, of 2 million dollars this year, will rise to about 2,3 million dollars in 2019 and around 2,5 million in 2020. Most importantly, we will continue to be advocates for peace, dignity, and hope. May the message of peace be heard sooner rather than later.