Ban Ki Moon attends a donors conference in Kuwait City on January 30, 2013
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon attends the opening ceremony of the International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria, at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City on January 30, 2013. © - AFP
Ban Ki Moon attends a donors conference in Kuwait City on January 30, 2013
Omar Hasan, AFP
Last updated: January 30, 2013

Donors pledge $1 billion as UN warns of Syria catastrophe

International donors at a Kuwait conference on Wednesday pledged more than the targeted $1.5 billion in aid for stricken Syrians, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said.

"I am pleased to announce that pledges have exceeded the target... more than $1.5 billion have been pledged including the $184 million pledged by non-governmental organisations," Ban told a news conference.

"The exact amount of the pledges are being calculated," said the secretary general, adding: "This is the largest humanitarian conference in the history of the United Nations."

Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah said that "the door is open for countries that have not donated to do so".

The conference opened with a pledge worth $300 million from Kuwait, followed by similar promises from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Its initial aim was raising pledges of about $1.5 billion to provide aid to an estimated five million people affected by Syria's 22-month conflict.

Ban said the United Nations would ensure the funds were used in the most effective way, adding the international community had sent the Syrian people a message that they "are not alone".

The UN chief appealed to the two sides to stop fighting and killing, insisting there was "no military solution to this crisis... there must a political solution".

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