(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The UAE and Germany will fund the setting up of a general secretariat of an economic working group, comprising Syrian business leaders and technocrats, which is preparing an economic agenda for the post-Assad regime to put the nation back on track.
The first meeting of the Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development of the Friends of the Syrian People was held in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening, in which 60 countries and international organisations endorsed the plan to set up a permanent body to coordinate the economic revival and reconstruction in the post-Assad period.
Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister for State for Foreign Affairs, and Dr Clemens von Goetz, Director-General for Africa and Middle East at the Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, co-chaired the meeting, in which the Syrian Opposition presented their economic vision to revive the economy in the first six months of the post-Assad era.
The meeting was held to prepare the ground for a permanent structure for the economic group in which it has been successful, said Dr Goetz, adding that now the secretariat would be set, may be, in Europe or elsewhere.
A senior member of the Syrian National Council told Khaleej Times that the present regime has destroyed the economic infrastructure of the country in the last 18 months of civil war.
He estimated at least 12 billion would be required for the post-Assad government to run the affairs of the country for the first six months. "Once we move forward, we would seek financial support from our friends," he said.
"This meeting was not meant to make pledges or commitments for the future economic reconstruction," he said.
The participants of the meeting "reiterated the determination of Syrian people and supported their just cause and underlined that the future of Syria must be determined by the Syrian people and the Friends Group will stand firmly by them until their rightful and legitimate aspiration are fulfilled", according to a communiqu issued after the meeting.
The participants showed commitment to support Syria economically in the transition period and thereafter in order to ensure that the post-conflict Syria stands on a firm foundation financially and economically, said the communiqu.
The working group would meet regularly to organise its work on economic reconstruction and development.
It also endorsed initial work plans on immediate impact measures, presented by representatives of the United Kingdom, while donor coordination was presented by the European Union.
Economic policy and reforms were presented by Germany and the initial work plan for the business sector involvement was presented by the UAE.