The Unites States Wednesday pledged an additional $30 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, bringing the total U.S. aid to the strife-torn nation to $200 million.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement after talks in Perth where she was attending an annual summit with her Australian counterpart Bob Carr and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, Reuters reported.
Clinton said the additional financial assistance would help deliver food to hungry people inside Syria and to refugees who have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq due to the civil war.
The U.S. plans to provide the aid through the World Food Program, which is supplying food aid to more than one million people in Syria and nearly 400,000 refugees in neighboring countries.
A meeting of the Syrian opposition forces in Qatar had earlier agreed to set up a united council, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, to reorganize their work in the popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
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On Tuesday, France became the first Western power to formally recognize Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
On Monday, the six nations of Gulf Cooperation Council recognized the group as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.
Though the U.S. said the new coalition was a legitimate representative of the Syrian people, it stopped short of recognizing it as the only representative, saying the new coalition needed to demonstrate its influence on events on the ground in Syria.
When asked about Washington’s stand on offering full recognition to the Syrian opposition coalition, Clinton said: "We have long called for this kind of organization.”
"The United States was deeply involved in the work that went on leading up to and at Doha. Now we want to see that momentum maintained. Specifically, we urge them to finalize the organizational arrangements to support the commitments that they made in Doha and to begin influencing events on the ground in Syria," she said.
"As the Syrian opposition takes these steps and demonstrates its effectiveness in advancing the cause of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Syria, we will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the Syrian people," she said.