Şanlıurfa hosts the Second Ministerial Meeting of Countries Neighboring Syria
Şanlıurfa hosts the Second Ministerial Meeting of Countries Neighboring Syria

Second Ministerial Meeting of Countries Neighboring Syria co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Antonio Guterres was held in Harran Accommodation Center, Şanlıurfa with the participations of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, Hoşyar Zebari and other guest Heads of delegations on January 17, 2014.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said that Syrian people facing all kinds of threats and oppression are fleeing to neighboring countries and thousands of people are coming to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, even though it’s not neighboring Syria, with a view to finding food, water and medicines.

Pointing out that currently there are more than 700 thousands Syrians in Turkey, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said that at the Geneva meeting held in October, it was decided to meet at accommodation centers where Syrians live and this decision is being realized for the first time in Harran.

Emphasizing that there is an extraordinary diplomatic traffic within the scope of the preparations of Geneva II Conference, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said “Two days ago, international donors meeting was held in Kuwait. Today’s meeting in Harran, right after the donors meeting and ahead of the Geneva II, is a call to the international community and humanity. This call means “Enough!”, because besides these refugees, millions of people in Syria have to survive even without essential needs”.

Underlining that so far, United Nations Security Council was not able to adopt any resolution on the issue, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu stated “Our message to Syrian brothers and sisters; we will not remain silent about your pain, whatever they do, no matter how long they remain silent. We will continue to stand by you with all our possible capacities”.

Stating that meetings which will be held in Geneva next week in order to find a political solution to the violent war in Syria will play an important role in ending the bloodshed, UNHCR Guterres said that sharing the burden in Syria is the responsibility of international community and therefore they are strongly calling for opening of borders of not only neighboring countries but also all countries to the Syrians.

Following the meeting, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, UN Commissioner Guterres and Heads of guest delegations met with Syrian refugees at lunch. Furthermore, they visited and examined the school, hospital and other social facilities in the Harran Accommodation Center.

At the Urfa Statement which was released after the Ministerial Meeting, an appeal to development actors and financial institutions was made to scale up their support to refugee hosting countries. Furthermore, it was stated that the Ministers and UNHCR has encouraged other countries to keep their borders open for Syrians seeking protection, to further enhance resettlement and humanitarian admission programs for refugees, and introduce more flexible family reunification procedures and visa requirements for Syrians and in addition, UNHCR has called for a global moratorium on returns of Syrians to Syria and to countries in the region hosting the vast majority of refugees.

Full Text of Urfa Statement

At the Urfa Statement, it was also mentioned that the delegates reached agreement to intensify joint work in three critical areas; resettlement and humanitarian admission; awareness raising and advocacy and humanitarian access and delivery inside Syria.