Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Syria Denounces ‘Theatrical’ Brussels Conference for Earthquake Victims

Syria denounced an international conference in Brussels that pledged funds for victims of a recent earthquake, describing it as "theatrical."

In a statement released on Monday, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said Western allies, including the US, should lift sanctions on Syria rather than organize such a “sham event”.

The statement called for the immediate abolition of coercive measures and collective punishment policies imposed on the Syrian people in order to improve the living conditions of those affected by the earthquake.

It  also highlighted the exclusion of representatives from the Damascus government from the conference, and the refusal of organizers to allow prominent Syrian humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations to participate. The Syrian foreign ministry described this behavior as “politicization of humanitarian and development issues”.

The organizers of the conference raised 6.05 billion euros ($6.48 billion) in grants and loans for Turkey and 950 million euros ($1.018 billion) for Syria, but the Syrian foreign ministry dismissed this aid as “purported”, arguing that it was insufficient and that it was made without coordination with officials from the country. The statement also criticized the US and European allegations of exempting food and medicine from all sanctions, calling them “spurious”.

The Syrian foreign ministry accused American occupation forces of continuing to plunder Syrian energy resources, without paying any attention to the urgent needs of earthquake victims, including shelters, healthcare, and utility services. It concluded with a message from the Syrian people to the organizers and participants of the conference, calling for the removal of anti-Syria sanctions and the presence of sincere political will to improve the living conditions of quake-affected people.

Syria has been under Western sanctions since 1979, and more sanctions were imposed after 2011 when the country was hit by foreign-backed militancy and terrorism.

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