Over the next four years Croatia will provide a million euros in aid to Syria, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said at an international donors' conference in London on Thursday, calling on the international community to take urgent action to end the suffering of millions of Syrians as a result of nearly five years of war.
The financial aid to be provided by Croatia will be intended for the protection and education of children, women and religious minorities and for the fight against sexual violence. "Every child has a right to education... Education is the strongest weapon against extremism," Grabar-Kitarovic said in her address at the conference which brought together representatives of about 70 countries and international organisations.
She said that too much time had been wasted and that the international community should act immediately to end the suffering of civilians in the war. "We must intensify our efforts, be more determined, more coordinated and more effective. We are losing future Syrian generations, the level of human suffering in Syria is unacceptable."
Grabar-Kitarovic said that the approach to resolving the crisis should combine political, military, educational, cultural and religious aspects and should be based on a UN resolution from 2015 that calls for an immediate cease-fire to ensure humanitarian aid deliveries.
"I hope that the political process, based on the UN resolution, will bring this crisis and tragic conflict to an end. Let us not be ashamed to respond when our children ask us: What have you done to stop the war in Syria?" Grabar-Kitarovic said.
The United Kingdom and conference co-organisers Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the UN hope that donors will pledge USD 9 billion for Syria and another 4.4 billion for refugees in neighbouring countries.
UN agencies estimate the needs for Syria for this year at slightly less than USD 8 billion, and a further 1.2 billion is sought by neighbouring countries to be able to cope with the consequences of the Syrian crisis.