U.N Secretary-General "Ban Ki-moon" said that an international conference in Kuwait generated at least $2.4 billion in pledges Wednesday from donors to alleviate the suffering of Syrians affected by their country’ s crisis.
The U.N is asking for a staggering $6.5 billion this year to help Syrians affected by the crisis, its largest-ever funding appeal for a single crisis. Officials did not expect to raise the entirety in Kuwait, but they do hope the gathering focuses greater international attention on the conflict.
"The fighting has set Syria back by years, even decades", the U.N.’s Ban said at the start of the event at the lavish Bayan Palace in the capital.
Kuwait’s emir "Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah" opened the conference by pledging $500 million, significantly topping the nation’s pledge of $300 million last year. He pressed the U.N Security Council to exert greater effort to end the crisis, and urged all those fighting in Syria to "put the fate of their country and the safety of their people above all other considerations".
Kuwait’s Gulf neighbor Saudi Arabia promised an additional $60 million, saying that would boost its existing round of funding to a total $250 million, though it did not specify the time period. It promised $300 million at last year’s conference.
Qatar also promised $60 million.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister "Najib Mikati" urged the establishment of a safe haven inside Syria to ease the burden of host countries such as Lebanon. The U.S pledged $76 million for Lebanon to help it cope with an estimated 1 million-plus refugees.
The U.K. announced a pledge of 100 million pounds, or $164 million, while donor countries included Norway, Luxembourg and even violence-wracked Iraq, which promised $13 million in aid.
The conference took place a week before peace talks on Syria are due to be held in Switzerland.