Sadly, today marks one thousand days since the start of what has become the most disastrous humanitarian crisis in decades – the Syrian conflict. One thousand days of violence which has resulted in tens of thousands of men, women and children losing their lives, millions being displaced in the country and beyond its borders in search of safety. One thousand days of death, fear, hardship, deprivation and despair. One thousand days in which we are witnessing the creation of a lost generation.
This tragedy must end, and this can only be done politically. Our hopes, and especially those of the suffering Syrians, are now pinned on the second Geneva peace conference due to take place in Geneva on 22 January. In the meantime I continue to reiterate my plea, and that of the entire international humanitarian community, for the parties involved in this terrible conflict to facilitate humanitarian access to all those in need, to protect civilians and to respect International Humanitarian Law.
Until that elusive peace is attained, Europe will continue to shoulder its responsibilities and its firm commitment to helping the Syrian people survive and the people of the region to cope with the crisis. So far we have provided EUR 2 billion to save lives and reduce suffering. We will be there to support humanitarian efforts as long as it is needed.