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Abdelbaset Sieda, the head of the Syrian National Council, told a meeting of Syrian opposition representatives and diplomats that a reconstruction program similar to the one after World War II would be needed.
Assad’s regime has devastated the public finances and institutions to such an extent that Syria won’t be able to rely immediately on oil revenues and taxes to rebuild, Sieda said in Berlin.
The working group on economic rebuilding, which Germany chairs with the United Arab Emirates, is designed to address how to prevent the collapse of basic services and infrastructure and how to revive the economy in a post-Assad Syria.
Unlike neighboring Iraq, Syria lacks vast oil reserves that could kick-start the economy and help finance the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged in the fighting.
Syria used to produce about 380,000 barrels of oil a day, of which 250,000 were for local consumption and 130,000 for exports. By comparison, oil giant Saudi Arabia produces about 10 million barrels a day.
A fifth meeting of the U.N.-sponsored Syrian Humanitarian Forum — made up of hundreds of nations, regional groups, U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations — is planned for Friday in Geneva. At the last meeting in July, the operations director for the U.N.’s humanitarian office said its appeal for $189 million to help people inside Syria was only 20 percent funded.
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