Sweden to support the areas in Iraq liberated from ISIL and areas in Syria controlled by the opposition

STOCKHOLM, 30-11-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — Today (26 November 2015), Sweden is taking a decision on support to the areas in Iraq that have been liberated from ISIL, as well as to areas in Syria controlled by the opposition and in affected neighbouring countries. The increased support totals SEK 79 million.

“This support to Iraq and Syria is important to enable a long-term solution to the conflicts. Sweden continues to work on both the political and the military track, as well as through aid measures,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

“These decisions must be seen as part of Sweden’s broad commitment in the Iraq and Syria crisis. This support to Iraq confirms Sweden’s intention to step up and take responsibility to meet the serious threat that ISIL represents today. Through the Syria fund we can help to ensure that more people in the areas of Syria seriously affected by war gain increased access to water and electricity, and we can contribute to food security,ˮ says Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin.

The UN’s stabilisation measures in Iraq will receive a contribution of almost SEK 35 million. This money will go to a fund managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the civilian population in the areas liberated from ISIL, thus making it easier for internally displaced persons to return to their homes.

Sweden is providing a new contribution of SEK 16 million to the Syria Recovery Trust Fund, which finances rebuilding and the provision of basic social services in the areas of Syria controlled by the opposition.

Syria’s neighbouring countries are being subjected to major strains as a result of the very large number of refugees from Syria who have sought protection in these countries. The Government has therefore decided to contribute SEK 28 million to the Madad Fund. This fund collects contributions from the EU budget and the Member States for support to refugees and host communities in Syria’s neighbouring countries, primarily Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Certain countries in the Western Balkans will probably also receive support. In addition, aid can be given to activities within Syria.

Background

The situation in Iraq remains very serious, with 3.2 million internally displaced persons and almost ten million people in need of humanitarian support. The military operations on the ground are making progress, albeit slowly, and it is important that stabilising measures are put in place as soon as an area is liberated to enable basic rebuilding and to promote local reconciliation.

Since 2014, Sweden has provided SEK 300 million in humanitarian support to Iraq.

The conflict in Syria has been raging for over four years and has resulted in the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster, with millions of people forced to flee. Large proportions of the Syrian population lack access to basic social services, such as education, medical care, electricity, water and sanitation, infrastructure and livelihood support.

Since 2011, Sweden has contributed SEK 1.9 billion in humanitarian aid to the crisis in Syria, and a total of SEK 345 million in development aid, including the new contributions to the Syria Recovery Trust Fund and the Madad Fund. Sweden is the country in the western world that has taken in most refugees per capita from Syria since 2011, when the conflict broke out: 115 000 people.

Contact

Annika Flensburg
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin
Phone (switchboard) +46 (0)8-405 10 00
Mobile +46 72 212 45 09
email to Annika Flensburg
Erik Wirkensjö
Press Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström
Phone +46 8 405 54 73
Mobile +46 7031 76 471
email to Erik Wirkensjö

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