x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

World sends Syria a gift of hope at Abu Dhabi talks

International community vows at UAE meeting to revive the Syrian economy when President Bashar Al Assad's regime is toppled.

Dr Clemens von Goetze, the ambassador for Germany, called for all Syrian people to join the opposition and work with the international community.
Dr Clemens von Goetze, the ambassador for Germany, called for all Syrian people to join the opposition and work with the international community.

ABU DHABI // The international community vowed yesterday to revive the Syrian economy when President Bashar Al Assad's regime is toppled.

At a meeting held at the capital's Emirates Palace hotel, representatives from more than 60 countries presented economic development plans and reforms, which they hoped would give Syrians an "optimistic look to their future".

In what was described as a "clear message to the Syrian people", the UAE and Germany, who co-chaired the meeting, announced they would fund the establishment of a general secretariat to co-ordinate global efforts.

The representatives, who included officials from the Arab League, the European Union and the United Nations, were gathered in Abu Dhabi for the first official meeting of the "Friends of Syria" economic recovery and development working group.

The group called for all Syrian businessmen who worked abroad to join in organising efforts for the reconstruction and development of the "New Syria" economy.

"We would like to show that the global community is serious in their efforts to help the Syrian people to develop and prosper," said Dr Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Mr Gargash also stated that fears of sectarian divisions and splits among the global community should be dispelled.

"This is a clear message to the Syrian people and a call for them to have an optimistic look to their future," he said.

Dr Clemens von Goetze, the German director general for foreign affairs, called for all Syrian people to join the opposition and work with the international community.

"The future of Syria cannot be determined by the Syrian people alone," he said. "The friends of Syrian people bear a commitment to help them realise this new Syria."

Meanwhile, in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the country's oil minister Sufian Allaw claimed international sanctions have bled US$4 billion (Dh14.6bn) from the nation's economy.

amustafa@thenational.ae