An international conference on Syria was held in Brussels. Minister of Foreign Affairs Timo Soini represented Finland at the conference. In a press release, Minister Soini said that the war is not only a great humanitarian crisis, but an enormous crisis of regional development. In Syria, 13 million people are need of protection and humanitarian aid, and over half of them are children or youngsters. Finland has committed 25 million EUR in aid for 2018, of which 12.6 million will be directed to humanitarian aid. This is less than the 35 million in 2017 and the 34 million in 2016.
Minister Soini said that Syria is still important to Finland, but « everything cannot be measured with money ». According to Minister Soini, it is necessary to make choices when it comes to humanitarian aid and developmental aid.
The conference discussed the delivery of emergency aid to Syria. Despite the Security Council decision in February, the emergency aid has not been delivered to the region in the way that was intended. Mr Soini said that violations of human rights and international humanitarian law continue. This must stop and the aid must reach its targets.
Helsingin Sanomat notes that a year ago, the situation was very similar slightly different parts of Syria. Helsingin Sanomat asked Minister Soini what had changed since then, and he replied that unfortunately nothing has changed much. The EU countries are still unwilling to fund rebuilding if Bashar al-Assad remains in power after the war ends. However, it is clear that the EU must interact with the Syrian administration even after the possible end of the war. It is difficult to see how this will be possible if Russia and Iran do not pressure Assad to step down.
The situation eats up resources from Russia and Iran, and harms their international credibility, Minister Soini says, but they saved Assad who would have otherwise been defeated. The Syrian military is close to winning the war, and Isis is beaten but not destroyed, Minister Soini adds. If a political solution cannot be reached, it is possible that Isis or a similar organization will return.