BEIRUT: Putting an end to the crises themselves is the best way to end sexual violence in crisis situations, Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil suggested Friday at a global summit in London.
"The best approach to ending sexual violence in crisis situations is to end the crisis,” Bassil told the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit, adding that preserving the dignity of women was required to solve the problem.
The summit, billed as the largest gathering ever held on the topic, has drawn hundreds of officials, diplomats, activists and survivors of rape in conflict zones. It was co-chaired by U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.N. Special Envoy Angelina Jolie.
Jolie said the meeting, which ended Friday, was being held "for all the forgotten, hidden survivors who have been made to feel ashamed or been abandoned."
Addressing the closing ceremony of the four-day summit, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was time to "banish sexual violence to the dark ages in the history books."
He said the issue was personal to him as a war veteran and father of two daughters.
Kerry echoed appeals by Jolie, a United Nations special envoy. She urged those attending Friday to keep lobbying for action against war zone rape, and concluded: "We can and will end impunity."
While in London, Bassil earlier met with the Lord David Howell of Guilford for talks focused on the Syrian refugee crisis.
The two men also discussed the issue of oil and gas in Lebanon.
Bassil then held round-table talks with representatives of British Expertise, the leading U.K. private sector organization for British companies offering professional services internationally. The talk was organized by British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher. - With agencies