France to continue support to sectarian violence victims in Mideast

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, May 11 (KUNA) -- French authorities on Friday said they would continue to support efforts to help populations in the Middle East that have been victims of sectarian, ethnic or religious violence, a statement said.
The authorities added that they would commit to maintaining a USD six million fund set up by France to finance this assistance.
The Foreign Ministry indicated that France would take part at ministerial level in a May 14 "International Follow-up Conference" in Brussels on the victims of such violence in the Middle East.
Belgium and Lebanon are co-hosting the conference, the statement revealed.
Paris first hosted a founding conference for the fund to help victims in September 2015 following so-called Islamic State rampages against minority populations in Iraq.
A second conference was held in Madrid in 2017 and a total of USD 20 million has been raised between 2015-2017 from donors and local governments. France has budgeted an additional USD six million for 2018.
As part of the so-called "Paris Action Plan," the funds are disbursed mainly through French non-governmental organisations working in affected areas.
A number of projects are under study for this year under the guidance of NGOs and most are located in Iraq, but other projects are also being looked at, the Foreign Ministry noted.
At the Brussels meeting next week, France is to reaffirm its "constant commitment" to ethnic and religious diversity which Paris said "is an inherent part of the Middle East's identity" and is "key to building a future of peace, freedom and prosperity in this region" in the post-IS period. (end) jk.hm


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