EU to hold donor conference on March 16 to help quake-hit Türkiye, Syria

EU to hold donor conference on March 16 to help quake-hit Türkiye, Syria

Baku, March 10, AZERTAC

The EU donor conference to help earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria will take place on March 16, the Swedish foreign minister announced on Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

Speaking to reporters before the meeting of EU foreign ministers, Tobias Billstrom said the donor conference “is going to be held here in Brussels on March 16.”

The event is organized by the European Commission and the Swedish government that assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on Jan. 1.

“Our aim is to raise additional support for the people in Türkiye and Syria and try to do as much as possible to alleviate the terrible consequences of this earthquake,” Billstrom asserted.

He said they expect a “high-level turnout” at the donor conference. At their meeting, the EU foreign ministers will discuss the latest developments of the war in Ukraine and the bloc’s support for the country, the situation in Afghanistan, including humanitarian aid, and energy and climate diplomacy.

For his part, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed that the ministers will assess the details of the 10th sanctions package against Russia but said it was not certain that they “will have a final agreement today.” In a similar tone, Billstrom stressed that he was “very optimistic” that the new restrictive measures would be adopted soon but declined “to bind” himself if they can enter into force by Friday, the war’s first anniversary, as the European Commission originally planned.

Borrell revealed that the ministers will discuss how to “answer to the decision of the Taliban to ban women from participating in the work of NGOs” because it challenges the bloc’s principles of cooperation with Afghanistan.

He explained that the EU does not want to cut humanitarian aid and cause more “pain for Afghan people” who depend on EU support, especially on healthcare and education, but they want to “send a message” to the Taliban regime.

Borrell also said the EU ministers will approve a new sanctions package against Iranian individuals under the bloc’s Human Rights Sanctions Regime for “what happened in past weeks, the crackdown on protesters and the use of capital penalty.”

Asked about the possibility of Chinese military support to Russia, he said it would be a “a red line in our relationships.”

Borrell further said he discussed the topic with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference this weekend, and his counterpart reassured him that they were not planning to supply Russia with arms. But we will remain vigilant,” Borrell added.

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