Syrian crisis

Federal Minister Gerd Müller to visit Lebanon and Turkey

Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller during his three-day visit to Lebanon and Turkey

18.03.2015 |

Berlin – On Wednesday morning Federal Minister Gerd Müller will depart on a visit to Lebanon and to the region along the border between Turkey and Syria prompted by the dramatic situation in and around Syria. The three-day visit will take the Minister to Beirut, the Beqaa Valley and Gaziantep.

Minister Müller: "It is unimaginable what the people in the countries neighbouring Syria are doing to help day after day. Almost one in every three people in Lebanon right now is a refugee from Syria. There are currently 1.2 million Syrian refugees needing help and support in addition to the Palestinian refugees already in Lebanon. Most of these people are not living in camps; they are being sheltered in local communities. Germany is helping to build water and wastewater systems; a voucher system for buying food has been set up, which is also creating jobs; 80,000 Syrian and Lebanese children are currently able to go to school thanks to German support. We will be stepping up our involvement in these areas. The people living in the region can depend on Germany. Turkey is also giving shelter to 1.6 million refugees and is an important partner when it comes to helping the people who are still living in Syria under the most difficult of conditions."

In Beirut, Minister Müller will meet the Lebanese Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, and Rashid Derbas, the Minister of Social Affairs; he will also have talks with national and international aid organisations. In the Beqaa Valley the German delegation will visit a tent city for Syrian refugees and have talks with the mayors from communities that are in some cases home to more refugees than locals. A visit to a school is also on the programme.

For Turkey, too, the burden of coping with the flow of refugees from Syria and Iraq is enormous. The visit to Gaziantep will take Minister Müller to one of the country’s agricultural and economic centres in the south-eastern part of Turkey. Gaziantep is the Turkish province that is giving shelter to the biggest number of Syrian refugees. Most of them have come from Aleppo, which is a mere 100 kilometres away.

More than 240,000 refugees are living in camps. Since the crisis began 40,000 Syrian children have been born in Turkey. In Gaziantep Minister Müller will be able to find out more about numerous projects that are being organised from Turkish soil to help the people in Syria. Germany is working here with numerous international organisations that are coordinating the extremely difficult task of bring aid to the battle-torn country.

Last year Germany doubled the funding being made available to support the countries affected by the Syrian crisis. Since 2012, the German government has provided more than 850 million euros in aid for this effort. Together with the Federal Foreign Office, the BMZ organised two Syria conferences in Berlin last year, to mobilise more international assistance and organise the coordination of the aid.

Minister Müller: "That the EU has finally made an extra billion euros available for the Syrian crisis is an important sign. Altogether, however, the international community still needs to do even more. Only a small part of the funding needed for the United Nations plans for Syria and the region for this year has been committed; that needs to change, quickly. The international community must stand by the countries neighbouring Syria. Otherwise a whole region will be destabilised and the result will be an even greater flood of refugees."

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