Wien, 20. July 2012 Press release

Waldner: “Suffering Syrian population can count on Austria’s help”

State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner announces increase in humanitarian aid for Syria

Vienna, 21 July 2012 – “The people in Syria and the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries depend on international support. In view of the increasingly precarious situation, Austria will step up its humanitarian efforts and raise its bilateral financial contribution for humanitarian aid measures in Syria and in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Jordan to a total of 1 million Euros“, State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner announced.

The additional funds will directly benefit the suffering civilian population in Syria and the neighbouring countries, among others through the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “This money will also be used to support Austrian humanitarian aid organisations in Lebanon and Jordan, which supply refugees from Syria“, said the State Secretary.

In the 16th month of the insurgency in Syria, the conflict has now reached not only Damascus, but also the heart of the regime. “Time has run out for Assad. He bears the main responsibility for the crimes against the Syrian population and therefore cannot be part of the future of Syria. As the end of Assad approaches, it is becoming more and more important for the opposition to pull in the same direction. For a new Syria, there is no alternative to a political process involving the participation of all parts of the Syrian society“, said Waldner on the current developments in Syria. 

On the occasion of the first “Friends of Syria Conference“ in February in Tunis, Austria already provided a humanitarian contribution of 250,000 Euros for the running programmes of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) in Syria. In addition, the Interior Ministry has supplied tents, kitchen sets, and blankets.

Syria will also be on the agenda of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels next Monday. To further increase the pressure on Damascus, the Council will deliberate on a renewed expansion of the EU sanctions against the Assad regime.

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