EU, UN officials vow support for Jordan in refugee crisis at Brussels conference

[24-03-2021 11:36 AM]

Ammon News - European Union and United Nations’ top officials on Tuesday pledged to support the Kingdom’s efforts in hosting thousands of Syrian refugees for the past 10 years in the upcoming meeting in Brussels.

The announcement was made during a virtual press briefing held by the EU and the UN ahead of the Fifth Brussels Conference on "Supporting the future of Syria and the Region", which will be held on March 29 and 30, 2021. In view of COVID-19 restrictions, the conference, to be co-hosted by the EU and the UN, will take place in virtual format, according to the organisers.

EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou told the gathering that March 15 marked the 10th anniversary of the Syrian uprising, and the situation in Syria and the region remains highly critical, and the conflict is still going.

“The COVID-19 pandemic’s consequences and the deterioration of the economies across the region over the last year further exacerbated the dire humanitarian situation inside Syria and the conditions for Syrian refugees and their host communities in neighbouring countries,” Hadjitheodosiou told reporters.

Without a genuine political solution, the effect of the crisis will likely continue to be feltregionally, by neighbouring refugee host countries, such as Jordan, whose national infrastructure and economy have to provide services to the large number of Syrian refugees, the EU official pointed out.

However, the conditions are not in place for their safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return in line with international law, Hadjitheodosiou added.

The Brussels meeting will be a chance to ensure that the conflict in Syria remains a top priority for the international community while at the same time recognising the role of the hosting communities, the EU official pointed out.

That is the reason that the EU, together with the UN, are co-organising the Fifth Brussels Conference on the future of Syria and the region, Hadjitheodosiou explained.

The conference aims to mobilise the international community behind the UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the Syria crisis, in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen, according to Hadjitheodosio.

The conference also aims to generate international financial support to help meet the dramatically increasing humanitarian needs inside Syria, for Syrian refugees, and for refugee-hosting countries in the region, she added.

The Brussels Conferences have over the years become an opportunity to reassert the international community's continued support to the UN and the UN Special Envoy's efforts for a negotiated political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, the EU official stressed.

They also serve to mobilise necessary financial support to meet the needs of Syrians and their host communities, as well as to pursue and deepen dialogue with civil society, according to the organisers.

On March 29, the Day of Dialogue will allow to pursue discussions between civil society, refugee-hosting countries, the EU and the UN. Other Syria-related conference side events will take place the week before. The Ministerial Conference will take place on March 30, according to organisers.

The European Union will continue mobilising all the tools at its disposal in support of the Syrian people, to finally reach a negotiated political solution and help create the conditions for a brighter future for all Syrians, Hadjitheodosiou stressed.

Also speaking during the press briefing was UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Anders Pedersen, who stressed that the impact of the Syrian crisis in Jordan has been the same over the past 10 years.

“Jordan proved to be a role model for many countries” in terms of its commitment towards the Syrian refugees, Pedersen said.

The UN official said he was hopeful that the international community would continue to show the same commitment to Jordan given the level of hospitality Syrians refugees receive in the Kingdom. The COVID-19 pandemic made the situation more vulnerable to people living in Jordan, including the refugees, he added.

“I really think this is an incredibly important occasion for us as an international community and all partners, to once again recommit to Jordan, and once again acknowledge the absolutely unprecedented level of support that Jordan has provided to the people that have had to flee the Syrian crisis,” Pedersen said.

The UN official stressed that the international community and partners of Jordan will continue to support the refugees. “There is simply no time for complacency either,” Pedersen stressed.

“At the stage at which we are today, I think it is extremely important that we recognise and acknowledge that as the situation becomes more retroactive when we are 10 years into the crisis, we are then continuously adjusting the way we are responding to the crisis,” Pederson said.

That is why from the UN, Pedsersen added: “We have been very keen trying to see how we can then blend our humanitarian support and response, with the development response that the international community also is providing to Jordan.”

Meanwhile, UNHCR Representative Dominik Bartsch also touched on the Syrian crisis saying that there is a need to constantly examine ways to support millions of Syrians who were affected by the conflict as well as the countries that were affected, including Jordan.

Bartsch told reporters that since the start of the conflict, His Majesty King Abdullah has made it clear that anyone on Jordanian land is included in the health response and this, of course, included the refugees.

“It is the spirit of inclusion that we hope to continue as well as the intervention for the refugees so that we can ensure that they are included in national systems and have economic opportunities,” the UNHCR official stressed.

The three officials stressed at the end of the one-hour online event that the ultimate goal of the Brussels meeting and the international community is to ensure that “we do not leave anyone behind, including refugees”.

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