In his speech at the Supporting Syria and the Region donors’ conference in London on Thursday, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) said that only the international community could put an end to the Syrian civil war.
“What is going on in Syria has a direct impact on the security environment of Europe and Estonia, not least through the refugee situation,” he added, saying that by supporting Syrians in their homeland and in Syria’s neighbouring countries, millions forced to embark on a life-threatening journey abroad could be helped.
According to a government press release, Rõivas said a comprehensive strategy for the whole region was necessary to help refugees return to their daily lives. This would include access to education for children, healthcare, and the chance to work.
He also said that Estonia would continue its developmental aid in volumes significant for a country of its size.
An estimated 13.5 million people need help in Syria, and 4.39 million Syrians have fled from the civil war to neighbouring countries.
So far, Estonia has supported relief efforts in and around Syria with €2.4m, mostly through the humanitarian agencies of the UN and the International Red Cross. Estonia is ready to contribute another €4.1m over the coming years.
The UN calculated that the total cost of humanitarian aid for the region in 2015 exceeded $5.8bn. The Supporting Syria and the Region donors’ conference in London on Thursday aimed to raise enough money to match the UN’s 2016 appeal for international aid for the region, which is $7.73bn.