Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo participated in the 4th Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future in Syria and the Region. Building upon the previous sessions, the Conference sought to garner momentum on the political front and to boost humanitarian aid to Syria and the surrounding region.
Addressing the plenary session on the humanitarian dimension in Syria, the Minister noted that ten years have elapsed since the outbreak of the Syria conflict. He emphasised the need for the international community to remain focused on the realities on the ground.
While expressing concern over the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister Bartolo stressed that the humanitarian infrastructure in Syria must be de-politicised. In this context, it is imperative to allow unhindered humanitarian access for the Syrian people, in compliance with international humanitarian law. He also paid tribute to all humanitarian actors, for their relentless efforts to deliver life-saving support to all those in need.
Minister Bartolo also referred to the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on refugees and their host communities. Whilst commending the role played by neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, the Minister expressed his support for international efforts to alleviate the considerable setbacks faced by these governments, and called for a strengthened international response to mitigate the additional burdens arising from this pandemic.