Syrian refugees eat luch in a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon. Photo: Bilal Hussein/AP/TT

Sweden pledges more aid money for Syria

Sweden has promised SEK 230 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria as the international community gathers in Kuwait, on Wednesday, for a major donor conference.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt and Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström said Sweden will also be prepared to increase aid, if necessary and that Sweden continues its "comprehensive core support for Unicef, the World Food Program and UNHCR, among others".

Writing in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the two ministers said that, when it comes to humanitarian assistance, Sweden is deeply involved in the Syrian crisis.

"In 2013, we contributed more than SEK 400 million and we are prepared to continue this support in 2014," the ministers stated. They continued: "We have set aside another SEK 145 million for human rights, democracy and reconstruction work in the period 2013 to 2024. In this way, we can at least assist some of the people who need our help the most in the region."

The two ministers added that local conditions in Syria mean it is hard to ensure the humanitarian aid reaches those in need, considering bureaucratic obstacles preventing access to beleaguered cities, a ban on all but a few international organisations and conflicts between different rebel groups and extremists.

Writing on Twitter on Wednesday morning, Bildt stated: "Sweden will pledge increased support to Syria humanitarian efforts at Kuwait UN conference. Hope others follow."

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