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Kerry Pledges Aid for Syrian Refugees

  • Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference after his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam, at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, June 4, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference after his meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam, at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, June 4, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has pledged $290 million in humanitarian assistance to boost U.N. efforts in Syria and neighboring countries hosting refugees from there.

Kerry said there is still an enormous need that is not being met, adding that all nations have a responsibility to try and end the conflict in Syria.

"And I particularly call those nations directly supporting the Assad regime in what has become a grotesque display of modern warfare by a state against its own people," he said. "I call on them, Iran, Russia, and I call on Hezbollah, based right here in Lebanon, to engage in a legitimate effort to bring this war to an end."

Kerry also called on donor nations to continue to deliver on their pledges of support.

The United Nations refugee agency said Lebanon is now hosting more than one million Syrian refugees who have fled their country's three-year-old crisis.

Kerry commented during an unannounced trip to Beirut, Wednesday, where he met with Lebanese officials including Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

Kerry said the political stalemate in Lebanon blocking the election of a new president was "deeply troubling'' and lawmakers should vote to fill the vacancy quickly.

"Lebanon needs and Lebanon deserves to have a fully empowered, fully functioning, complete government. And we hope the Lebanese parliament will select a president quickly," he said.

He says the United States will remain a strong and reliable partner and will continue to support Lebanon and its institutions.
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