Britain, Norway pledge extra US$2.9b for Syrian refugees before London donor conference

ABU DHABI, 4th February 2016 (WAM) --- Britain and Norway on Thursday pledged to spend an additional $2.9 billion (2 billion Pounds Stirling) in aid for Syrians by 2020, seeking to build momentum for a one-day donor conference that the United Nations hopes will raise more than US$7 billion for this year alone.

Leaders and diplomats from 70 countries, including UK PM David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are meeting in the British capital, London, to pledge billions to help millions of Syrians displaced by war and try to slow the chaotic exodus of refugees to Europe.

Jointly hosted by Britain, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations, the Supporting Syria and the Region conference aims to agree plans for economic and educational projects to assist 4.6 million Syrians who have sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and other neighboring countries.

"We can provide the sense of hope needed to stop people thinking they have no option but to risk their lives on a dangerous journey to Europe," British Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement, announcing the new pledge of GBP1.2 billion (US$1.75 billion).

U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, called for a strong show of solidarity at the conference, which will be attended by dozens of heads of state and government and ministers, as well as numerous humanitarian organisations, Reuters reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to announce a big U.S. commitment later, according to the AP.

The U.N. and regional countries say they need US$9 billion in assistance for 2016.

Organisers believe finding jobs and schools for refugees in the Middle East can help increase regional stability and keep displaced Syrians from fleeing to Europe.


WAM/MMYS/Moran