Your Royal Highness, Highnesses, Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like join others in thanking our hosts for organising this second humanitarian pledging conference for Syria in Kuwait City.
Since we met last year, the situation in Syria has deteriorated further. Tens of thousands more people have been killed. Millions more have been forced to flee.
This is unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to continue.
Brave humanitarian volunteers and workers are doing their utmost to save lives inside Syria—often risking their own.
They deserve our deepest gratitude and respect, as do their colleagues in neighbouring countries.
More importantly, they need our urgent support for the Syrian humanitarian response.
On behalf of the Norwegian Government, I would therefore like to pledge 460 million Norwegian kroner, the equivalent of 75 million US dollars, in humanitarian assistance to Syria and the regional response plan.
It is appalling that medical facilities and personnel are being directly targeted. This means that hundreds—even thousands—of sick or wounded patients are being attacked.
Even restrictions on the delivery of medical equipment across the frontlines in Syria are having a devastating effect.
With reference to the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of October 2013, Norway calls on all parties to abide by their obligations to respect international humanitarian law and protect humanitarian actors.
They must allow the delivery of humanitarian supplies to all those in need, in all parts of the country.
Syria’s neighbouring countries— Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq—are providing shelter and relief for millions of Syrian refugees. This is a heavy burden. They deserve our full support.
Today’s conference must demonstrate the international community’s solidarity with the people of Syria.
This conflict can only be resolved by political means. The suffering in Syria will not stop until the violence ends, and a political solution is reached.
Norway urges the parties to attend next week’s Geneva II conference, with the aim to reach a comprehensive settlement, fully implementing the Geneva Communiqué.
To give people hope, to build confidence between the parties, and strengthen their commitment to the process, immediate and tangible results are urgently needed. For example, local ceasefires and prisoner releases.
I hope that the strong political will here today will increase the momentum that is needed when we gather for the Geneva II conference.
We owe it to the Syrian people who, despite their tragic predicament, continue to be the most important defenders of human dignity in this crisis, to make the Geneva II conference a success.