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Aid to Syria continues despite sanctions

The Local · 5 Sep 2011, 12:00

Published: 05 Sep 2011 12:00 GMT+02:00

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Official collaboration between Berlin and Damascus has been “largely suspended” since May, when the Syrian authorities stepped up their use of violence against protestors.

But €5.08 million continues to be allocated to fund development projects in Syria, according to information covered by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The projects include efforts that are supposed to help regular people, including giving Syrian citizens safe water supplies. But they could still seem out of place following the strong criticism Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been subjected to by the German government recently – Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has repeatedly criticized the Syrian regime in recent days while calling for stricter sanctions.

Ute Koczy, a parliamentarian for the Greens, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the revelation was “extremely sensitive.” She said she thought development funding was difficult to justify it in light of the catastrophic human rights situation in Syria.

The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) needs to ensure that funding won’t “be construed as support for the regime.”

But Christian Ruck, a Bundestag member representing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives defended the commitment.

“We do not want to let people down,” he said.

The BMZ pulled its German staff out of the country months ago while announcing the general suspension of development cooperation. But it admitted to the Süddeutsche that some components of the water projects are continuing.

Story continues below…

It did, however, emphasize that it is not working with the central government, but rather with local agencies.

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:40 September 5, 2011 by freechoice
Sanctions won't work! Germany needs to lead a coalition forces under the auspices of the United Nation to force that dumbass out. This is a time to make amends for the failures in foreign policies.
18:13 September 5, 2011 by Englishted
Christian Ruck,

¦quot;We do not want to let people down,¦quot; he said.

To late you have in so many ways.
06:00 September 6, 2011 by derExDeutsche
I'm not convinced China wold allow the warmongering, Sharia craving Green's their Colonialist aspirations.
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