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Foreign minister Urmas Paet: millions of Syrian refugees are in need of extensive aid


At meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg, foreign minister Urmas Paet said that Syrian refugees, both within the country and abroad in refugee camps need extensive humanitarian aid to survive.

The foreign minister said that there has been no luck in getting closer to finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict and that the conflict's impact on neighbouring countries is increasing, especially on Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. According to Paet, the humanitarian situation in Syria is catastrophic. "In spite of the humanitarian aid access resolution adopted by the UN Security Council at the end of February, the humanitarian situation has not improved and violence in Syria has increased," Paet added. “We need to continue efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

More than 150 000 people have lost their lives in the Syrian conflict. More than 9.3 million people need assistance, of whom 5.5 million are children. There are 6.5 million internally displaced persons and 2.6 million people living as refugees in countries neighbouring Syria.

Estonia has supported the alleviation of the humanitarian situation of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey with a total of 1.3 million euros through WHO, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF and the Red Cross Committee. Estonia has also contributed through experience sharing – the Estonian rescue team, comprised of logistics experts, helped build a refugee camps in Jordan near the city of Azraq.

Paet stated that Estonia is ready to continue to help in assisting Syrian refugees.

According to foreign minister Paet, developments concerning the destruction of chemical weapons have been more positive, although the process has started to drag. "Although all the chemical weapons have not been destroyed yet, Syria is no longer able to use or build chemical weapons," he added.

The deadline for the destruction of chemical weapons is June 30.


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