After ignoring Dialogue Day, Syrian regime attacks Brussels Conference

Commemorative photo of participants at the 8th Brussels Conference on Syria - May 27, 2024 (AFP)

Commemorative photo of participants at the 8th Brussels Conference on Syria - May 27, 2024 (AFP)


The Syrian regime attacked the Brussels 8th Conference, criticizing the European Union’s policies towards Syria, particularly its stance on refugee repatriation, just three days after the ministerial donors’ conference.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday, May 30, that some Western countries reaffirmed their continued wrong policies towards Syria during the Brussels Conference, which they have been following for over ten years until now, according to the official Syrian news agency (SANA).

The Ministry called for the importance of financing the UN humanitarian response plan in Syria, away from any political considerations or narrow agendas promoted by Western countries. It noted that some countries objectively emphasized during the conference the importance of supporting efforts to enhance early recovery projects, contributing to improving the humanitarian and living conditions for Syrians and allowing refugees to return to Syria.

Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Qusay al-Dahhak, criticized the Brussels Conference for calling against the return of Syrian refugees, adding that it would have been more appropriate to allocate funding to facilitate and support this return by enhancing and increasing early recovery projects in quantity and quality and providing essential services and needs, as he said in a Security Council session on Thursday, May 30.

Al-Dahhak pointed out that the “outcomes of the Brussels Conference highlight the disregard of the influential forces in the European Union for the calls made by eight European countries recently to reassess the wrong European policies and adopt new approaches that allow the voluntary return of refugees,” as quoted by the local newspaper Al-Watan.

He added that “to restore security and stability and improve humanitarian conditions in Syria, it is necessary to combat terrorism, end illegal foreign military presence, and put an end to the associated acts of aggression and support for terrorist entities and militias.”

The Syrian regime remained silent during the Dialogue Day of the Brussels 8th Conference on April 30, even though the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had attacked the conference every year through multiple statements, the last of which was in 2023 when it said that the European Union “chose to exclude the Syrian state so that its true objectives and failed policies would not be exposed due to the inhumane and unethical coercive measures facing the Syrian people imposed by the United States and the European Union.”

Previous statements from the Ministry took a similar tone, most notably that the conference was a ceremonial event with no legitimacy, a blatant interference in Syrian internal affairs, rejecting the conference and expressing surprise at the absence of the concerned party (the Syrian government), considering there is deliberate politicization by the European Union of humanitarian affairs to continue exerting pressure on Syria and complicate and prolong its crisis, and that the conference does not align with the UN principles governing humanitarian work.

Participants in the Brussels 8th Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region committed to providing financial assistance worth 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in the form of grants and loans to help Syrians during the ministerial donors’ conference held on Monday, May 27, in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

The Associated Press reported that the total pledges for this year would amount to 5 billion euros in grants, including 3.8 billion euros for 2024 and 1.2 billion euros for the next year and beyond, while the remaining amount (2.5 billion euros) would be in the form of loans.

Prior to the ministerial donors’ conference, the Dialogue Day was held on April 30, attended by more than 600 participants from Syrian civil society organizations from Syria and neighboring countries and the diaspora, along with the United Nations, European Union member states, partner countries, and international NGOs, while the regime’s delegation did not attend the conference.


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