HE the Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that the international conferences held to support Syria in Kuwait, London and Brussels, in which Qatar has participated, witnessed the announcement of large pledges by different countries, but the benefit from those pledges can only be realised by fulfilling them.
Addressing the ministerial meeting on the Syrian crisis held by the European Union on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Foreign Minister said that raising funds and aid is of no use, unless aid is delivered to the right beneficiaries.
The international community must therefore intensify its efforts to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance as confirmed by Security Council resolutions related to the humanitarian situation in Syria.
He pointed out that since the beginning of the crisis, the State of Qatar has spared no effort in providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, adding that at the Brussels Conference, Qatar pledged to provide $100mn, and so far it has fulfilled most of the pledges made at both Brussels and London conferences.
"This is only a fraction of the total $1.6bn in financial and in-kind assistance provided by Qatar through government support and Qatari charities to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people in Syria and in the neighbouring countries," he said, extending thanks to Syria's neighbours, and urging the international community to continue supporting them to bear this massive burden.
The Foreign Minister pointed out that, "In light of the warnings of experts and concerned international agencies, such as Unicef, deprivation of millions of Syrian children and young people from education is dangerous and one of the most important causes of extremism, violence and terrorism. And therefore, the State of Qatar has taken initiatives in education and professional development in partnership with humanitarian and regional organisations, including the Syrian Refugee Education and Training Initiative for 400,000 beneficiaries over five years and the (Educate a Child) initiative, which has served about 985,000 children in addition to the activities of Qatari civil society organisations and reuniting thousands of Syrians with their families residing in Qatar."
He stressed that it is impossible to talk about the humanitarian repercussions of the crisis without talking about the necessity of stopping the continued serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by either by the Syrian regime or ISIS, as indicated by the reports of the United Nations and international organisations.
He added that, "the report of the International Independent Investigation Commission confirmed the responsibility of the regime's forces for the use of chemical weapons in Khan Sheikun town in April."
The minister stressed that accountability for these atrocities and crimes committed in Syria is a responsibility of the international community for achieving the principle of justice, deterring perpetrators from continuing to commit such crimes and removing obstacles to the sustainability and success of resolving the crisis, political transition and national consensus.
He also stressed the importance of activating the independent international mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes committed in Syria since March 2011 and to move towards independent and fair criminal proceedings, to help solving of the Syrian crisis, pointing out that the State of Qatar has contributed $1mn to support the international mechanism.
The minister added: "Parallel to fulfilling the needs of the Syrian refugees and displaced persons, we would like to underline the need for the international community to start preparing for a post-political solution stage, which will require exerting efforts to support reconstruction and repairing the damaged infrastructure." He went on to say: "There is no doubt that such support requires a credible political process that leads to a sustainable political transition, for which we have been calling since the beginning of the crisis."
Sheikh Mohamed reiterated Qatar's support for the efforts for reaching a political solution to the crisis on the basis of the Geneva 1 conference and UN Security Council's resolutions, including resolution 2254, and for realising the aspirations of the Syrian people for security, stability, territorial integrity and self-determination without any pressure.
He expressed Qatar's support for the de-escalation efforts in accordance with the United Nations Charter, international law and international humanitarian law , as well as the ongoing Astana talks.
He stressed that these efforts do not substitute the Geneva talks, which must be resumed as soon as possible. "We demand the regime to take responsibility and deal seriously with these negotiations," he said.
The minister stressed that the agreements can only succeed if they are secured and supported through utilising local councils. "We hope that those agreements will spare the Syrian people from further bloodshed and heinous crimes and atrocities," he said.