In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of the sisterly Republic of Turkey,
Your Majesties and Highnesses,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It honors me to express my gratitude to the sisterly Republic of Turkey for hosting this historic summit, which is the first of its kind. Here, in the city of Istanbul. Where East meets West. And I commend the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, for the spirit of guidance that he showed during the organization of this summit.
Your Excellency, as this session is held, a child is searching the streets looking for the food of his day. And another sleeps behind walls, in refuge from gunfire. The ghost of death looms over them in coldness and hunger. The presence of more than 60 million people, either refugees or those who have been displaced, have had to flee in order to survive. It is incumbent upon us to use all our abilities to overcome this unprecedented humanitarian disaster, and find solutions for their relief, and put an end to their suffering, as this constitutes a flagrant violation of our common moral, humanitarian, and legal values. Are the painful images that we witness everyday not enough to move our feelings? The number of displaced people in Syria alone has reached 12 million, and 4 million others have fled the country.
As humanitarian relief is the only and urgent solution to save the lives of millions of refugees and displaced people and is the key to ensuring that they stay alive, the efforts regarding humanitarian work cannot be lessened, as there is an urgent need for shared political progress and diligence at all levels, that the world follows in a serious and committed way, in order to find a solution for current crises. What we are saying applies to the crisis in Syria. Because no matter how big the humanitarian assistance, it will not end the root causes behind the ongoing conflict and the immense suffering it has left behind.
What astonishes the human conscience, is that the world watches out everyday as Syria drowns in blood, while Syrian government forces carry out airstrikes in all manner of modern weapons on civilians and populated areas, as well as hospitals, schools and places of worship to terrify civilians and force residents to flee. We have been warned alongside the brothers in the region since the start of the Syrian crisis that a political solution is the only guarantee to resolving the crisis. We stressed taking urgent and concrete measures on the part of the international community to end it before it extends its grip across the borders of Syria and the region. The damage inflicted on millions of Syrians are a testament to the disastrous consequences of failing to take the necessary steps to end the crisis.
Our commitment to helping our Syrian brothers is not a favor to be done, but it is rather a duty. A duty that has made us extend all means of humanitarian help to them in a direct way and through international and regional organizations. The humanitarian contributions of the State of Qatar are estimated at $1.6 billion. The State of Qatar also contributed $100 million at the conference "Supporting Syria and the Region: London 2016." $10 million Qatari riyals were allocated for aid and urgent humanitarian relief programs for affected citizens in Aleppo. And the situation in Palestine is not better than the situation in Syria, as the crises that affect the Middle East make the Palestinian issue more urgent and any settlement should be on the basis of the two-state solution, where the Palestinian people can enjoy their inalienable rights. It must comprise establishing an independent Palestinian State on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, and that will not come about until Israel abandons its intransigence and ends its occupation of all Arab lands, stopping and dismantling settlements, and respecting the legal status of the holy city of Jerusalem. We stress that the continuation of the settlements and taking advantage of natural Palestinian resources will have serious implications for the worsening humanitarian crisis, and the impossibility of achieving any development where food insecurity is present together with the continued confiscation of Palestinian land.
As the international community agrees to a lasting and fair solution to this issue, and to the full international recognition of the State of Palestine, and the continued obligation of Arab states to pursue the suggested Arab Peace Initiative in the present time. The time is now more ripe than any other time before to push for a solution to the Palestinian issue and to fulfil peace in the region on the basis of legitimate international laws. That will not happen without international support to build institutions for the State of Palestine and ending the unjust siege of Gaza, facilitating its reconstruction, and providing decent living opportunities for all its inhabitants. In acknowledgement of the State of Qatar's view on the importance of addressing the humanitarian crisis and its direct negative effect on the peace process. During the conference for rebuilding Gaza in 2014, the State of Qatar pledged $1 billion, and we bring news of the implementation of our pledging on realistic grounds through fulfilling many urgent development programs in the strip. And in accordance with the foreign policy of the State of Qatar in creating security and stability through humanitarian, developmental, and political initiatives, my country is pledging to oblige by the five responsibilities that are a focus in the vision of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon in his report "One Humanity: A Shared Responsibility," which draws for us a map that takes us on a road which puts into account the victims and those affected when coordinating humanitarian efforts.
The increase and uniqueness of crises requires taking early measures to prevent them from happening. As it is known, conflict prevention is a multidimensional procedure, which requires addressing structural errors that lead to a slide in conflict and violent extremism. Not to mention that poverty, unemployment, discrimination, human rights violations, and corruption have provided fertile ground. What can young people do when society is free from justice, equality, and good governance? Governments must aid in building independent and sustainable solutions that have the confidence of their citizens, aspire to prevent crises and enhance stability. Empowering international organizations to find a solution for crises is equally an urgent matter for realizing this goal.
The ongoing crises requires providing humanitarian help for those who are in need of it, and these efforts must be built on the ability to be compassionate for the long-term. It pleases me that in this specific part, the humanitarian and developmental programs of the State of Qatar are interconnected and aspire to fulfill this vision. For example, the State of Qatar recently contributed $550 million for Darfur, and the program and projects were targeted for early recovery and in accordance with the Darfur development plan. This approach has also been applied to relief and development work in Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, and has proven to be successful.
Mr. President, everyone agrees that a focus on education has a vital importance, with the aim of protecting childhoods and preventing the loss of generations. And if we want to fulfill true peace in the world, we must start by educating children. Most of the refugees are under the age of 18. Neglecting education means that generations will grow up without a suitable education, and will be prone to human trafficking or falling prey to terrorism. The State of Qatar led the 2010 efforts by proposing a resolution for the United Nations General Assembly with the title "The Right to Education in times of Emergency" and it was the first resolution of its kind in condemning the targeting of schoolchildren, teachers, and educational institutions during armed conflicts. The resolution contributed to the protection of the basic right of education during emergencies. These efforts will culminate in a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on June 3 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, initiated by the State of Qatar with other countries.
Just as Qatar was one of the first countries to support "Declaration of Safe Schools," and worked within the framework of a partnership with the international coalition to protect education from attacks, the inter-agency network for education in emergencies and the global partnership for education. In 2012, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser launched the "Education Above All' initiative, and it is a worldwide initiative that supports a comprehensive and innovative approach to education which aims to fulfill human development by improving access to education for vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the State of Qatar's support for the decisions that may arise from this summit, and that it will not hesitate to protect the needy and provide assistance to them. Now, the historical moment has come for us to promise a serious commitment, and cherish great hope to make a better future for humanity.