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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Pledging Conference for Syria

Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
January 30, 2013


Your Highness, Mr. Secretary General, esteemed colleagues. I wish to thank His Highness the Emir of Kuwait and the United Nations for hosting this pledging conference. The International Community must be united in addressing the enormity of humanitarian needs. Today is an important opportunity to commit funds for the people of Syria whose lives have been so deeply affected by this crisis.

Innocent suffering and displacement within Syria have grown exponentially over the past year. Four million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance and more than 700,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. I am pleased to lead the U.S. delegation along with Nancy Lindborg, Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In the past few days we have met with Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan and discussed the brutal tragedy inside Syria that has prompted them to flee, and we heard their pleas for help for their relatives and friends who are suffering. We must do more now and we must do so with the moral support and financial backing of more governments.

The United States recognizes the UN’s leadership, strongly supports the UN’s humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, and appreciates the UN’s critical coordinating role. International humanitarian and non-governmental organizations have technical expertise and well-developed operational capacity. In keeping with humanitarian principles, the UN serves those in greatest need wherever they may be. The UN is mounting a response that is saving millions of lives. Its network in Syria is broad: 11 UN agencies operating in Syria and over 4,300 staff, most of whom are brave Syrians doing their utmost to protect and aid their fellow citizens.

Date: 01/30/2013 Description: Assistant Secretary Richard - State Dept ImageWe know this is not enough. Creative efforts are needed within Syria and we must collectively reach more communities. This requires consistent, secure access and sufficient resources. The Syrian Government must stop obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and likewise no armed opposition group should hinder aid delivery. We praise the effort and sacrifices of the many relief workers who are operating day and night to get more aid into Syria.

We believe that the Syrian Opposition Coalition can help facilitate secure, reliable access to areas outside government control so professional humanitarian organizations can reach those in need. The UN has been clear: its assistance is solely for the benefit of the Syrian people. However, we also know there are too many Syrian families who are not receiving the urgent aid they need. We all must continue to prevent the misuse of humanitarian assistance for political purposes and continue to ensure that humanitarian aid is delivered to people based on need.

Since the early days of the crisis, the United States has been leading relief efforts as the largest bilateral donor, and is using all partners and networks possible to reach the Syrian people. We applaud and welcome the generosity of Kuwait this morning. We thank other nations represented here today who have also provided aid, but our collective efforts are not enough. The humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly. We urge all nations to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the Syrian people by robustly contributing to the UN humanitarian appeals. We must not let the relief efforts falter for lack of funding.

Yesterday, the President of the United States of America announced that the United States is providing an additional $155 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Syria and others suffering from the violence. This new funding includes the $10 million announced by our delegation during our visit in Turkey. We are pleased to present this additional assistance here today. With this new $155 million, the U.S. is now providing more than $365 million in humanitarian assistance in response to this regional crisis to date.

This additional assistance will enable the UN and its partners and other non-governmental organizations with which we are working to expand aid operations for Syrians across the country. Last week, for example, the U.S. launched flour deliveries to bakeries in Aleppo Governorate, reaching 210,000 people. We are funding emergency health care and supplies, which enable surgeons in field hospitals to save more lives. For those taking refuge in damaged buildings, we will continue to provide winter supplies such as blankets, heaters, and heavy-duty plastic sheeting to cover broken windows and other damage. We are supporting the provision of emergency assistance, shelter, health care, and community protection to more than one million conflict victims. And, our increased funding will aid Palestinian refugees affected by the violence inside Syria.

We will increase our support for relief efforts for those who have fled Syria to neighboring countries, and we recognize and applaud the generosity of the governments and people of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and other nations hosting Syrian refugees. These countries have taken on a significant burden and we have told them you are not alone. Most refugees are in host communities rather than in camps; our assistance is dedicated to them as well. U.S. funding enables the UN and other organizations to: help the wounded; provide hot meals, daily bread, dry rations, and food vouchers; transport refugees from border areas to safe shelter; and importantly, pay particular attention to the needs of women and girls, including preventing and responding to violence against women and providing health care to the victims.

Even as we condemn the escalating violence that has created this humanitarian emergency, the United States affirms its commitment to helping alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. As the President said in his announcement, “The Syrian people will have their chance to forge their own future. And they will continue to find a partner in the United States of America.”

Thank you.

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