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Your Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thanks to our five hosts for this very timely and well-focused conference.
Yesterday, the UN Special Envoy announced a temporary pause in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva. In the weeks ahead, I urge all Syrian parties to create a constructive environment before the resumption of the talks on February 25. In this regard, a particular responsibility lies with the regime and its supporters, who must meet their obligations in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Resuming talks later this month offers an opportunity that must be seized. Political transition is the only way to end the horrific human sufferings and counter Da’esh.
But while we push for a political solution, we must keep up the pressure on all parties to ensure humanitarian access and respect for international law. And we need to step up efforts to create a better future for the many children, women and men caught in the conflict.
We must increase funding. We must improve living conditions locally for the many refugees and the host communities in the region. We must ensure protection and create more jobs and better access to education, health and other services.
All this requires a better link between humanitarian assistance and development efforts. And it requires a broader involvement of all actors – including governments, civil society and the private sector.
This is why we gather here today. This is why Denmark contributes substantially to the MADAD-fund. And this is why Denmark has taken lead on the European Regional Development and Protection Program for Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. A program that helps refugees and locals to find relevant jobs, to create new jobs, to upgrade their working skills, to start a new business, and to be informed on their legal rights and to avoid child labor – in close dialogue with the host authorities.
I am pleased today to commit 100 million US dollars or 688 million Danish Kroner in 2016 to address both the immediate and longer term needs in and around Syria. This includes the expected Danish contribution to the EU Turkey Facility.
Denmark truly wishes to contribute substantially to alleviate the human sufferings in and around Syria. Denmark will remain an active and committed partner in the years to come. Through humanitarian relief, through development efforts, and by strengthening the link between the two – in order to improve living conditions for the many families and local communities affected by the conflict.