A transition plan for Syria

Media release

22 April 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today called for international agreement on plans for the future of Syria, including humanitarian aid, the post-Assad transition, a democratic government and commitments on excluding al-Qaida and refraining from chemical weapon use.

Senator Carr will discuss the plans with European Foreign Ministers, Arabic representatives and the Arab League in talks on Syria in Luxembourg today (from 2am April 22 AEDT).

"The Syrian war has become one of the world's great humanitarian crises," Senator Carr said.

"More than 70,000 people are dead and millions have fled their homes. Around 70 per cent of the country's doctors and medical staff are unable to work due to targeted attacks, and there are reports of diseases such as typhoid.

"The United Nations estimates by the end of this year more than 9 million Syrians, or nearly half the population, will have fled their homes.

"It has been described as risking the greatest refugee crisis since World War Two.

"The world is acting through humanitarian aid and nonlethal support to the Syrian opposition. But we need to secure commitments on a future democratic Syria subject to the rule of law.

"There must also be an absolute exclusion of extremist or jihadist elements such as al Qaida from any future Syrian government.

"I'll be seeking international support for this four-point plan on Syria's future, at these talks in Luxembourg today.

Senator Carr said plans include:

Increased humanitarian aid

An orderly transition

A democratic Syria

Commitments by the Syrian opposition:

Today's talks will be attended by the Foreign Ministers from Australia, the UAE, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Greece and representatives from the Arab League, aid organisations, the United Nations, European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Attachment: Additional Australian support to Syrian Humanitarian Crisis

Partner Funding Expected Results
Response Inside Syria
International humanitarian and medical organisations $2m

Australian funding will help to:

  • Provide critical humanitarian assistance and protection (ie ensuring people's safety, dignity and basic rights are maintained) to approximately 500,000 internally displaced people
  • Distribute food and non-food items (eg cooking kits, plastic sheets, water containers, soap, blankets) to 1.5 million people
  • Deliver medical supplies for the treatments of tens of thousands of sick and wounded (eg bandages, antibiotics, intravenous fluids, serum, anaesthetics)
World Food Programme (WFP) $4m

Australian funding will help WFP to:

  • Provide food assistance (eg supplies of rice, wheat, lentils, oil, sugar, salt) for up to 2.5 million people per month in all 14 Syrian governorates
World Health Organisation (WHO) $3m

Australian funding will help WHO to:

  • Provide basic health care (vaccines, basic disease prevention, ante and post natal care, treatment of sickness and injuries) for up to 2 million people
  • Address critical shortages in basic medical supplies and essential medicines (eg antibiotics, intravenous fluids, serum, anaesthetics, vaccines)
  • Conduct mobile health clinics in Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Homs and rural Damascus
International/Australian NGOs $3m

Australian funding will help International and/or Australian NGOs to:

  • Meet essential needs, including basic health care (vaccines, basic disease preventions, ante and post natal care, treatment of sickness and injuries), in opposition-held and contested areas in Northern Syria
Regional Response (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) $6m

Australian funding will help UNHCR to:

  • Provide protection (ie ensuring people's safety, dignity and basic rights are maintained) to more than 1.1 million Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey
  • Distribute shelter, food (rice, wheat, lentils, oil, sugar, salt and vouchers to buy food – particularly for those in host communities) and non-food items (eg cooking kits, plastic sheeting, water containers, soap, blanket) water and sanitation to more than 1.1 million refugees
  • Support host governments appeals (namely Jordan and Lebanon) to respond to the needs of Syrian refugees in the community
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) $2m

Australian funding will help UNRWA to:

  • Provide cash assistance and non-food items (eg cooking kits, plastic sheets, water containers, soap, blankets) to around 33,000 Palestine refugees who had fled from Syria to Lebanon
Australian NGOs $4m

Australian funding will help Australian NGOs to:

  • Complement UNHCR's efforts (details yet to be determined)

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