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‘US to continue supporting Jordan amidst refugee crisis’

By Raed Omari - Jan 14,2014 - Last updated at Jan 14,2014

AMMAN — The US understands the challenges facing Jordan as it hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, and it will continue to support the Kingdom to overcome them, a US official said on Tuesday.

During a meeting with Planning Minister Ibrahim Saif in Amman, US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard commended Jordan’s “active role” in hosting Syrian refugees, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Saif briefed her on the Kingdom’s National Resilience Plan (NRP), which provides a strategic framework for Jordan’s response to the impact of the Syria crisis, with a focus on supporting host communities in the most affected areas of the Kingdom.

The NRP, which will be presented to 50 countries at the High-Level Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait, includes a $2.4 billion programme of priority interventions over the 2014-16 period across the eight major sectors of education, energy, health, housing, livelihoods and employment, municipal services, water and sanitation, and social protection.

It also lists the fiscal support required to compensate for the increased cost of subsidies and security support on the budget — $758 million and $965.3 million respectively.

Saif said the international community has a responsibility towards Jordan by providing direct support to the government to counter the effect of the Syrian refugee crisis on its economy, adding that around 576,000 refugees have so far registered with UNHCR in the Kingdom.

In remarks earlier this week, Richard said the Jordanian authorities and international relief agencies, mainly UNHCR, have an “impressive” plan on how to manage the Syrian refugee camps, starting from registration to the distribution of aid.

During a roundtable discussion with representatives of media outlets on Monday, Richard expressed her country’s appreciation of Jordan’s efforts to alleviate the human suffering of Syrian refugees despite its limited resources.

She said her stopover in Jordan before heading to Kuwait to participate in the High-Level Pledging Conference for Syria was meant to see the improvements achieved in dealing with Syrian refugees and meeting the needs of host communities.

During the meeting, attended by US Ambassador to Jordan Stewart E. Jones and US Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues Zeenat Rahman, Richard added that US Secretary of State John Kerry, who will head his country’s delegation to the conference, will announce humanitarian aid for Syria exceeding the $155 million allocated in the 2013 conference.

She noted that US humanitarian aid to Syria so far amounted to $1.3 billion.

In addition to the humanitarian aid, Richard cited US efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis that can bring an end to the “alarming” and “large-scale” suffering of the Syrian people, citing Kerry’s efforts in this regard.

Jones also commended Jordan’s humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees.

“The US is very grateful [for what] Jordan has done for the refugees, and we are fully aware of its resulting burdens. We need to do more and we will do it.”

Rahman, who is also the State Department’s Representative for the “No Lost Generation” Initiative, said she met with young Syrians in the refugee camps and had a close look at their situation in exile.

The initiative aims to provide young people affected by the conflict in Syria with the chance to shape a more stable and secure future.

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