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Int’l community must bolster host countries in supporting refugees — Foreign minister

Safadi urges intensified efforts to ban weapons of mass destruction

By JT - Jun 09,2020 - Last updated at Jun 09,2020

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks at a virtual meeting of foreign ministers and representatives of UN agencies hosted by Turkish Foreign Minister Mouloud Gawish Oglu on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Foreign Ministry)

AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Tuesday highlighted the role of international cooperation in addressing the refugee burden, especially given the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the medical needs of refugees.

Speaking during a virtual meeting hosted by Turkish Foreign Minister Mouloud Gawish Oglu to discuss refugees’ conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, Safadi stressed the necessity of underpinning refugee-hosting countries to provide the needed medical services for refugees, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.  

Safadi touched on the large-scale economic challenges that have been aggravated by the pandemic, requiring an integrated international programme in response.

He also drew attention to the need for supporting UN agencies that work hand-in-hand with host countries to meet refugees’ needs, reviewing Jordan’s efforts made in cooperation with UN entities to protect refugee camps, which have not reported any COVID-19 infections.

The Kingdom is hosting 1.3 million Syrian refugees, with less than 10 per cent living in camps, he said, noting that the solution to the refugee issue lies in the voluntary return of refugees to their homelands. The international community, he stressed, must shoulder its responsibility towards refugees and provide them with a decent life. 

Talks also touched on the role of the upcoming Brussels Conference, scheduled to be held at the end of June, in adopting integrated programmes to ensure adequate support for refugees and host countries.

Safadi expressed appreciation for the international community's support to Jordan to alleviate economic strains related to refugees, highlighting meetings held by countries neighbouring  Syria — namely Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon — to discuss prospects for the voluntary return of the refugees to their homeland.

Tuesday’s meeting witnessed the participation of the Lebanese, Pakistani and Iraqi foreign ministers, as well as the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Deputy Secretary-General of the World Health Organisation and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria.

Also on Tuesday, Safadi participated in the ministerial meeting of the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, which was attended by German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde.

During the meeting, he stressed the importance of establishing a Middle East free of "all weapons of mass destruction", urging intensified efforts to resolve regional crises to achieve security and stability.

Safadi also reiterated Jordan's position on intensifying efforts to ban weapons of mass destruction, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Touching on the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction, which the Kingdom chaired in October 2019, Safadi also emphasised the importance of the Stockholm initiative in developing an effective international position to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons prior to the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was scheduled to take place in April this year but was postponed to early next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministers agreed to hold the next ministerial meeting of the Stockholm Initiative in Amman upon the invitation of the foreign minister, prior to the conference.

Sixteen countries participate in the Stockholm Initiative: Argentina, Canada, Finland, Ethiopia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Jordan.


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