Norway offers to host Syria donor meeting

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Norway offers to host Syria donor meeting
A family is displaced to Qaa in Lebanon from Syria. Photo: Freedom House

Norway has offered to host a donor conference for the UN aimed at raising nearly $5bn to help those displaced or suffering as a result of civil war in Syria.


Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said she and Siv Jensen, who leads the anti-immigration Progress party, had together written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon making the offer. 
“The conflict in Syria has created the largest refugee crisis in our time. The international community must step up its efforts to help refugees and civilians in need in Syria and the neighbouring countries,” Solberg said. "I believe the UN will be happy to accept this offer.”
Jensen, who serves as minister of finance in Norway’s ruling right-wing coalition, said that she hoped the conference would be part of an “extraordinary international effort”. 
“Through this initiative, we hope to mobilise more funding to support the Syrian refugees and the host communities in the neighbouring countries, as well as enhancing humanitarian efforts within Syria,” 
So far the United Nations has raised just $2.7bn of the $7.4bn it has asked for to help pay for relief and refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon, which have together received four million refugees, and in Syria, where eight million people are displaced.  
Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council,  said that the decision was “gratifying”, adding that the recent decisions to increase spending on aid for refugees would gave Norway moral authority.  
“Now the Norwegian government has greater credibility and weight as the largest donor in the world, measured by the country’s size,” he said. 
Norway also plans to support the peace talks soon to be begun in Geneva between Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s envoy to Syria, the Syrian regime, and rebel groups. 


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