Speech at Syria Conference in Brussels 4 April 2017
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen
Six years of senseless violence in Syria have devastated the lives of millions of Syrians.
The latest casualties are the victims of the horrendous attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun yesterday.
Iceland strongly condemns all use of chemical weapons and those who are responsible must be held
accountable. I strongly urge the Security Council to take immediate actions against these atrocities [and I
urge all participants to support Liechtenstien’s initiative “Accountability Mechanism for Syria”].
Although we can investigate, seek justice and punish the guilty, we cannot bring back those innocents
who perished in Khan Sheikhoun yesterday - rather than the hundreds of thousands of victims of this
terrible war. But we are here today to help the survivors and help more to survive. Let us not hesitate, let
us not fail that important and historic duty.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The war in Syria has become a major threat to regional and global stability, and a breeding ground for
terrorism. The neighboring countries have borne the brunt of the refugee situation. Host communities have
been under immense pressure and shown incredible generosity and resilience in accommodating almost
five million Syrian refugees.
The UN and its special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, are doing brave work in helping the parties to find a
political solution. But only the parties to the conflict can make peace. They need to be strongly
encouraged along this path and here, the role of the UN Security Council is essential. In the meantime, all
parties must adhere to international law and must allow unhindered humanitarian access.
Iceland has honored its commitments put forward at last year’s conference in London. In the last eighteen
months, Iceland has already contributed in total almost 8 million dollars to the humanitarian response.
During the same period, Iceland also allocated 10 million dollars to welcoming the largest number of
refugees to the country since the war in former Yugoslavia.
Between this year and 2020, Iceland will have contributed a minimum of 7 million dollars for Syria and the
region and another 4.5 million dollars by welcoming more Syrian refugees to Iceland.
In addition to this, Iceland has now concluded four new agreements with UN agencies worth 4.5 million
dollars, committing ourselves to predictable multi-year humanitarian funding and I urge more donors to do