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Korea vows support to rebuild Syria

South Korea on Thursday expressed its willingness to render financial and other support for Syria to rebuild its economy devastated by a civil war that has raged for more than two and a half years.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se was responding to a call for international help by the leader of the Syrian opposition forces during an international meeting in Seoul.

The Seoul meeting, the third of its kind called by the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development for Syria, brought together 150 officials and representatives from a number of potential donor countries and international organizations.

The meeting is part of diplomatic activities led by the Friends of Syria, a group of 70 nations that support the opposition forces fighting to oust Syria‘s Bashar al-Assad government.

“Korea will do its best to generate a positive impetus for the Geneva II Conference, especially by ensuring the success of this Working Group meeting,” Yun said in a speech at the meeting.

“I hope that today’s meeting will be a meaningful stepping stone that will ensure the success of the Geneva II conference,”

Yun said, referring to the first peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, set for January in the Swiss city.

During the meeting, Ahmad Tomeh, the recently elected prime minister of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, appealed for active international assistance to help his country to rebuild its economy and end the war that has so far claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people.

The Syrian dictatorship is imperiling the lives of Syrians while the international community turns a blind eye, Tomeh said, adding that nearly 60 percent of health infrastructure facilities have been devastated as well as numerous education facilities.

Ways to assist Syria in agriculture, food security and energy were also discussed during the Seoul meeting, which followed the working group‘s first and second gatherings in Abu Dhabi in February and Berlin in September, respectively. (Yonhap News)