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Norwegian crown prince starts visit to Kingdom

Oct 21,2014 - Last updated at Oct 21,2014

AMMAN — Crown Prince of Norway Haakon Magnus and his spouse Princess Mette-Marit on Tuesday visited the Zaatari Refugee Camp for Syrian refugees in Mafraq. 

The Norwegian heir apparent and his wife started an official visit to Jordan earlier in the day and they are expected to meet His Majesty King Abdullah and senior officials, a Royal Court statement said.

Prince Haakon toured the distribution centre affiliated with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), where Director of the Syrian Refugee Camps Administration Col. Waddah Hmoud acquainted him with the efforts of state institutions to serve Syrian refugees since the outburst of the crisis. 

The prince also had a firsthand look at the services presented to refugees from different sectors and host communities, which increased pressure on vital sectors and infrastructure in the Kingdom, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

Hmoud voiced his appreciation for the Norwegian support to the Kingdom to face the repercussions of hosting Syrian refugees, calling on the international community to present more support to Jordan, which, he noted, has spent more than JD5 billion in this regard. 

Kilian Kleinschmidt, who runs the camp for UNHCR, reviewed the efforts exerted by the government and international organisations to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees, highlighting the development plans implemented in the camp. 

NRC Regional Manager Carsten Hansen reviewed the council’s role in providing humanitarian and relief assistance in addition to housing services to the refugees in cooperation with humanitarian organisations.

Hansen also noted that NRC’s programmes target the youth by organising training and vocational courses, and regular activities in safe environments for refugee children. 

He also praised the Jordanian role in hosting Syrian and Iraqi refugees, voicing hope for a near end to the crisis in Syria that enables Syrians to return to their country. 

Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit also toured the youth vocational centre and checked on the training courses that provide the Syrian youth with a chance to acquire vocational skills that would help them participate in businesses and projects to rebuild their country. 

The prince met with a Syrian family and listened to the story of their journey to safety. 

At a press conference, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende noted that Jordan has received successive waves of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, which increased the pressure on its already limited resources. 

He said that the international community should share these responsibilities towards the Kingdom, noting that Norway will provide Jordan with further support next year. 

Norwegian Ambassador Sissel Breie accompanied the prince in the camp tour. 

Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit also visited the National Training Institute in Marka area.

Majed Habashneh, director of Vocational Training Corporation (VTC), said the aim of the visit was to check on the corporation’s projects and training plans.

Muna Abbas, the central and southern regions director at the Save the Children Organisation, said Prince Haakon checked on the organisation’s programme involving 30 children who attended a course on cooking. 

Abbas said that part of a Norwegian grant of $2.5 million was used to cover the expenses of training students and enable them to join the labour market. 

She also said the programme targets 270 young men and women across the Kingdom in 10 locations affiliated with the VTC.

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