Aid is no substitute for diplomacy on Syria - Jolie
UN special envoy Angelina Jolie urged world powers to do more to end Syria's five-year war and help the millions who have fled the conflict, as she visited refugees in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
The war has killed 250,000 people, displaced half of Syria's population and created Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II. Talks on a political solution are under way in Geneva, but hopes of progress are modest.
As a diplomatic solution eludes politicians, simply coping with the humanitarian crisis was not a viable alternative, Jolie said yesterday.
"We cannot manage the world through aid relief in the place of diplomacy and diplomatic solutions," she said at a muddy camp in Saadnayel, about 15km from the Syrian border. Refugees gathered around, bracing against heavy rain and wind.
"We need governments around the world to show leadership: to analyse the situation and understand exactly what their country can do, how many refugees they can assist and how."
Highlighting the huge refugee influx into Syria's neighbours, which have been hosting millions of refugees, she said the problem was not "confined to the situations of tens of thousands of refugees in Europe".
Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon host the vast majority of the 4.8 million refugees created by the conflict. The one million registered refugees in Lebanon represent a quarter of the country's population.
"The greatest pressure is still being felt in the Middle East and North Africa," Jolie said.