Speeches

4. 2. 2016 14:31

Speech by Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka at the 4th Donor Conference Supporting Syria and the Region

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attends the International Donors' Conference Supporting Syria and the Region, on February 4, 2016.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka attends the International Donors' Conference Supporting Syria and the Region, on February 4, 2016.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all sincerely thanks to the host Governments and the Secretary General of the United Nations for convening this round of donor conference in support for Syria.

We participate in the humanitarian and development assistance both to Syrian refugees and internally displaced people as well as their hosting communities. Our last year’s pledge at the donor conference for Syria amounted to almost 4 million euro and the Czech Republic has more than lived up to this commitment. Bearing in mind the ongoing urgent need for humanitarian assistance, I pledge, on behalf of the Czech Republic, at least 6 million euro for the assistance inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries in 2016.

Our special attention is paid to health care and education. As a consequence of the ongoing civil war, young Syrians have lost several years of their lives and possibility to obtain education. Though, the future of Syria and success of the reconstruction of the country will depend on them. That is why the Czech Republic has launched the programme “New elites for Syria” giving opportunity to study and graduate from a university to young Syrian refugees from Jordan, who could not complete their education in their country due to the war conflict. We consider expanding the programme to other countries.

We will also continue supporting elementary schools taking on the Syrian refugees both in Syria and in the neighbouring countries. In the field of health care, the Czech Republic has been on a long term basis providing medical care in the framework of MEDEVAC programme to Syrian refugees both on site in Jordan and in the Czech hospitals.

The Czech government has also established a special programme in support of refugee hosting countries bearing in this context an exceptional part of burden. Within this programme, financial resources have been provided aiming at improving refugee infrastructure in Jordan and Turkey.  Furthermore, we actively participate in assistance delivered by the EU as a whole. The Czech Republic has contributed in 2015 and 2016 5 million euro to the EU Trust Fund for Syria (MADAD) and has thus become one of its biggest contributors.

The Czech Republic has been maintaining its diplomatic mission in Damascus and we stand ready to make use of our contacts in order to assist in facilitating the distribution of international humanitarian aid to those in need and to support the prospect of political solution of the crisis in Syria.

Only a political solution can bring to an end 5 years of violence and terrible human suffering.  We continue hoping for a positive turn of the situation and we are ready to further support those in need.

Thank you for your attention.

Bohuslav Sobotka, prime minister of the Czech republic

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