Press Statement: Meeting with leadership of the Syrian National Coalition
On Thursday, 25 July 2013, German Ambassador Peter Wittig hosted a meeting of the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition with representatives of UN member states from different regional groups and the European Union. The delegation of the Syrian Coalition was led by its newly elected President Ahmed Al-Jarba and also included senior members Mr. Michel Kilo, Dr. Burhan Ghalioun and Dr. Najib Ghadbian.
The purpose of the meeting was to provide the Syrian Coalition’s leadership with an opportunity to engage with a wider group of Member States ahead of an informal meeting with Security Council members, scheduled for 26 September. Representatives of the Syrian National Coalition briefed participants about the situation in Syria, their expectations towards the international community, their perspective on the “Geneva II” conference as well as its recent enlargement and election of a new leadership.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Wittig commended the Syrian National Coalition for its engagement with the international community in New York, calling them “credible and representative interlocutors which are representing the new Syria to the world”. Along with many other participants, he welcomed the Coalition’s firm rejection of sectarian extremism and terrorism, its support for a political solution and the reaffirmation of its commitment to a democratic and pluralistic Syria, founded on universal human rights. Ambassador Wittig underlined that there could be no military solution to the conflict in Syria, reminding all participants that “the political track towards the Geneva II Conference is crucial”.
Germany is part of the core group of the “Friends of the Syrian People”. To alleviate the suffering of the Syrian population, Germany has already provided 220 million USD for humanitarian assistance in Syria and neighbouring countries since the beginning of the conflict and is ready to provide further assistance of up to 260 million USD. Germany has also agreed to host 5,000 Syrian refugees. Together with the United Arab Emirates and the National Coalition, Germany is currently setting up a multi-donor trust fund which will support the population in areas where help is most needed and access is particularly difficult.