A HUMANITARIAN LEADER

Speech of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, at the opening of the 2nd International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria - State of Kuwait – 15th January 2014

 

In the name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate

 

Praise be to Allah, and peace be upon Prophet Mohammed, His Family and His Companions,
Excellencies,
His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. BAN Ki-moon,
His Excellency the Secretary-General of the Arab League Dr. Nabil Alarabi,
His Excellency the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council,
Dr. Abdulatif Al Zayani,
Distinguished Guests,

Assalam Alaikum Warhmattu Allah Wabarktuhu

It pleases me to welcome you in the State of Kuwait as dear guests to participate in the 2nd International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria. We are thankful for the initiative to convene this conference, of H.E. the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. BAN Ki-moon with whom we share a common feeling of the magnitude of the responsibility that we shoulder, with regard to the persistent bloody conflict in Syria, and our continued and relentless pursuit to alleviate the suffering of the people there, in addition to the great and increasing challenge of the Syrian refugees in the neighboring countries.

Your Excellencies,

One year after hosting the 1st International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria; which achieved its desired results; the State of Kuwait responded to the request by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to host the 2nd Conference, which clearly reflected and demonstrated Kuwait’s historical responsibility towards the people of Syria, its awareness of the magnitude of the disaster they suffer, as well as the need to mobilize the international efforts to confront this disaster and alleviate its consequences.

Your Excellencies,

This Conference is being convened, while the scope of the humanitarian tragedy in Syria is widening and claiming tens of thousands of innocent lives, destroying all forms of life, and causing millions to flee, as a result of an unjust and continuing conflict, where all kinds of weapons were used, including the internationally prohibited weapons, against an unarmed people.

In following up the frightening figures of those killed, and the alarming numbers of refugees both inside and outside Syria, as declared by the specialized international agencies, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which confirm that the number of casualties is close to 140,000, i.e. double the number of casualties since the convening of our first conference. This is in addition to the displacement of millions of refugees, both inside and outside of Syria, who are suffering tragic living conditions, exacerbated by the onset of winter. The latest report of the Food and Agriculture Organization confirms that the agricultural and livestock sector have deteriorated to a degree that has destroyed the basic components and the capacity of the country to provide its own food security. Deterioration affected an important sector relating to the future of generations in Syria, where education sector was left behind, curriculums were disrupted, and schools were destroyed, threatening the future of children and their country. This requires setting educational programs in cooperation with specialized international organizations.

The drop in the level of health services has contributed to the outbreak and spreading of many diseases; as evidenced by the report of the World Health Organization on the spread of Polio, inside and outside Syria, proving the magnitude of the tragedy and the suffering that befell the Syrian people.

Your Excellencies,

Our religion, values and humanity, makes it incumbent upon us; in the face of this bitter reality and devastating catastrophe; considered the biggest in our contemporary history, to work diligently to confront it and alleviate its effects. I appeal to you our dear guests participating in this conference, and to other non-participant countries worldwide, as well as all international organizations and agencies to hastily donate and provide assistance to the Syrian people. We are called upon to prove to the world our sense of responsibility that we shoulder, to save the innocence of children, the frailty of elderly and women, and the future of the youth, in order to achieve the aim for which we are holding this conference.

Your Excellencies,

Ever since the outbreak of the tragedy in Syria, Kuwait has participated in all efforts aimed at reaching a political solution for the war there, and has repeatedly declared its readiness to exert further efforts for the achievement of this goal. It also realized that a way to deal with this tragedy, is to follow the humanitarian path, which allows it to provide more humanitarian aid. Kuwait continues to mobilize, at both the official and public levels, support and aid for the Syrian people, whether internally displaced, or living outside in refugee camps. The State of Kuwait fulfilled all the pledges it made at the first donors conference, by paying in full its donation of 300 million US dollars to the United Nations and its specialized agencies, so that they can distribute aid according to their individual assessments of the needs of the Syrian people. This brings the total of Kuwait’s contribution to 430 million US dollars. Kuwait charitable societies have also achieved considerable results in their efforts to alleviate the pain of thousands of refugees and displaced persons.

In view of the continuity of catastrophic situations and harsh circumstances suffered by the Syrian people both internally and externally, I would like to announce that the State of Kuwait in fulfillment of its responsibilities toward alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people decided to pledge the amount of 500 million US dollars from both the governmental and national sector.

It pleases me, from this tribune, to commend with great appreciation the stance of the loyal Kuwaiti people who are naturally disposed to philanthropy and giving, for the relief of the ill-fated and the rescue of the needy, and their interaction with the humanitarian appeals for supporting needy and destitute people. I also commend the residents in Kuwait, and all public interest association and civil society organizations as well as the private sector and legal persons for their response to the distress call we launched for helping the Syrian people and extending support to them. I also deeply thank all the regional and international organizations who participated in providing aid for the Syrians.

Your Excellencies,

Today, the international community faces a historical, moral, humanitarian and legal responsibility that requires us to combine our effort, and work continuously towards a solution that ends this disaster, stops the bleeding of an entire people and preserves the integrity of a country, while maintaining international peace and security.

Since we are about to witness the convening of the 2nd Geneva Conference, I call upon the Security Council, the body entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, and in particular its permanent members, to put aside their differences and disputes, and to concentrate on finding a solution to this disaster, which has been raging for a long time, with increasing catastrophic consequences affecting not only the region, but entire world as well, to restore to this international forum its credibility and ability to assume its historical responsibilities.

I call upon the different parties and factions in Syria, to put the fate of their country and the safety of their people above all other considerations, wishing this conference all success in order to restore security and stability throughout Syria.

In conclusion, I reiterate my thanks to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. BAN Ki-moon, and wish this conference success in reaching its goal.

Wassalam Alaikom Wa Rahmatu Allah Wa Barakatu




A Humanitarian Leader
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