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‘Even worse than it was’ – UN Special Envoy for Syria Pedersen after meeting with Syrian FM in Damascus

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« United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen called on donors not to cut funding as the country’s economic crisis worsens due to the conflict, after meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad on Sunday in Damascus.
Footage shows Pedersen meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates building. In addition, Pedersen was seen going to the Four Seasons Hotel to address the press.
« Since I last visited, we have seen quite a few developments and I think a lot of our hopes and expectations were raised, » UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen told reporters in Damascus after the meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.
« All of this has created a lot of expectations and hope. But, the reality inside of Syria and the reality in all of this place, both inside and outside of Syria, that the situation could slowly stop being through. Unfortunately what we have seen is quite the opposite. The situation inside of Syria has become even worse than it was economically during the high of the conflict, » he added.
For years, the UN has been trying to restart stalled talks to reach a political settlement in Syria, which included Syrian government representatives rewriting a constitution with a delegation representing opposition groups.
« I think what we all need to recognise is that, for Syria without addressing the political consequences of this crisis, the deep economic crisis and the humanitarian suffering will also continue, » declared Pedersen.
« I’ll continue the dialogue with my Arab colleagues and friends. I’ll be meeting the Arab ministers when I will be going to New York for the General Assembly. And I will indeed also be meeting with the Astana ministers, Turkey, Iran and Russia. Hopefully, we can be able to consolidate some of the agreements we agreed already and we will forward the process in such a manner that it will also help the Syrian people living inside of Syria and the Syrian people living outside of Syria because the situation is not so serious, but we need to see immediate action, » expressed the UN Special Envoy.
According to UN estimates, 90 per cent of Syrians living in government-controlled areas live in poverty and more than half of the country’s population struggle to eat.
Humanitarian agencies have been cutting programmes for years because of budget cuts due to declining support from international donors. »

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