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Erdogan urges world to act on humanitarian crisis

Erdogan urges world to act on humanitarian crisis
Turkish president deems current humanitarian system 'inadequate for solving urgent problems'

ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Monday the current humanitarian system as “inadequate for solving urgent problems”.

Speaking at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Erdogan said that only certain countries were sharing the burden of the humanitarian crisis.

"Now everybody should take on responsibility on this issue," he said.

The Turkish president said that while needs were increasing day by day, the funds were not increasing at the same rate.

"We see some difficulties and tendencies of evading the responsibility by the international community over aid financing," he said.

"Turkey is a country that knows this weakness and experiences it in a bitter way," he said, adding that while Turkey has spent around $10 billion on humanitarian aid for around 3 million refugees on its soil since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, the international community spent around $455 million.

He said that the humanitarian summit should be a turning point in aid financing.

- UN Security Council reform

Erdogan also said that the United Nations Security Council needed urgent reforms in order to fulfill its functions.

Moreover, he called for the use of veto by the council’s five permanent members to be limited.

"As Turkey, we have done our best to contribute to the five core responsibilities that Mr. Secretary General [Ban Ki-moon] mentioned," he said.

These responsibilities include: preventing and ending conflict; respecting the rules of war; addressing forced displacement; achieving gender equality; responding to climate change; ending the need for aid; and investing in humanity.

But Erdogan urged a change in the UN Security Council, of which the five permanent members are Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of these members has the power to veto, allowing them to block draft council resolutions -- even when these have broad international support.

"For the Security Council to fulfill its main functions, we need urgent reform," Erdogan said.

"The use of veto should be limited," he added.

In 2012, Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. The move sparked criticism worldwide and prevented substantial UN-backed action with regards to the Syrian civil war, which now enters its sixth year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declined his invitation to the summit, the humanitarian news agency IRIN reported on May 10.

Criticized internationally for its role in backing the Assad regime, Russia said in a statement obtained by IRIN that it "refuses to be bound by the results of a process it says failed to include its views".

- Historic summit

During the World Humanitarian Summit, attended by 125 of the UN’s 193 member states, at least 50 heads of government will announce several commitments to reduce humanitarian disasters.

The summit comes as the Syrian civil war enters its sixth year, as Europe is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and as global social inequality has reached a peak amid a rising population.

Hosted by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, world leaders of UN member states, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are gathering in Turkey’s largest city Monday and Tuesday.

These include: preventing and ending the conflict; respecting the rules of war; addressing forced displacement; achieving gender equality; responding to climate change; ending the need for aid; and investing in humanity.

Turkey ranked third in the list of countries with the most international humanitarian work in 2012 and 2013, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, says in its Turkish Development Assistance 2013 report -- the latest such figures from the agency.

According to another 2013 Global Humanitarian Assistance report, the top five donors were the U.S. with $3.8 billion, followed by EU institutions ($1.9 billion), the U.K. ($1.2 billion), Turkey ($1.0 billion) and Sweden with $784 million.

source: News Feed
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