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EU commits another 400 million euros of aid to Syria

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will send another 400 million euros ($523 million) of aid to Syria and its neighbors, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Thursday, calling Syria "a stain on the world's conscience".

Barroso said the EU was already the biggest humanitarian donor in response to the crisis, committing more than 840 million euros to alleviate what he called "the most dramatic humanitarian situation in the last decade".

"But the worsening of the situation requires extraordinary measures. This is why (we) will deploy a comprehensive package of humanitarian and non-humanitarian assistance, mobilizing an additional 400 million euros for Syria and neighboring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan," he said.

"We need unrestricted and unconditional humanitarian access and we need a transitional inclusive government. The situation in Syria is a stain on the world's conscience. We all have a duty to act," Barroso added.

A spokesman for the Commission, the EU's executive body, said non-humanitarian aid meant budget support for states neighboring Syria which have struggled to cope with a huge influx of refugees.

At least 80,000 people have died in the two-year uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. The United Nations refugee agency said last month that more than 1.5 million people had fled Syria, nearly two thirds of them to Lebanon and Jordan. ($1 = 0.7642 euros)

(Reporting by Adrian Croft, editing by Gareth Jones)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130607/eu-commits-another-400-million-euros-aid-syria