Kuwait Pledges USD 500 Million in Aid to Syria

Jan 15, 2014, 04:40 ET from Kuwait Investment Fund

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, January 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

The Amir of Kuwait today pledged to give $500 million in aid to help fund UN humanitarian efforts for millions of Syrians affected by nearly three years of bloody conflict.

His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah addressed delegates from 60 nations at the second UN Syrian Donors Conference held in Kuwait City to raise $6.5 billion for Syrians amid reports of deteriorating humanitarian conditions inside the country, and for refugees who have fled the fighting.

The announcement today reinforces Kuwait's standing as a leader in the provision of humanitarian assistance internationally. Kuwait is the world's most generous country in terms of investment in foreign development, with total development aid, including loans, grants and technical assistance, standing at 1.3% of gross domestic product.

At the first Syrian donors conference, held in January 2013, Kuwait pledged and later paid $300 million out of total pledges of $1.5 billion, around $1 billion of which was used to support nations hosting Syrian refugees. At the Arab African Summit, which took place in Kuwait City in November of 2013, Kuwait's Amir pledged to loan African countries $1 billion over the next five years and a further $1 billion worth of investment.

Speaking at the conference, which was held at Bayan Palace, His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait's Minister of Foreign Affairs said: "Kuwait has for the second time answered the call of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to host the Syrian International Humanitarian Pledging Conference to raise much-needed funds for UNHCR's unrelenting efforts to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, both inside and outside the country.

"The international community must do more to help the millions of refugees who have fled the war zone and the millions more still struggling to survive inside Syria. We call upon all nations to join us in this cause, and to donate generously to our Arab brothers and sisters who are desperately in need of our support. From our own history, we know firsthand how dramatic the results can be when the nations of the world speak with one voice and come together to act with one purpose," he continued.

Kuwait's donation of $500 million comes just days after the Amir called on all segments of Kuwait's society to participate in a nationwide fundraising campaign to help stem the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Several Kuwaiti charities announced a campaign to raise $141 million to build camps for Syrian refugees.

The Amir urged "Kuwaiti men and women, foreigners living in the country, NGOs and private companies to contribute to the national campaign for the relief of our Syrian brothers," a statement from the royal court said.

Rebecca Lloyd-Wright
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SOURCE Kuwait Investment Fund