(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN - Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Wednesday held extensive talks with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in New York.
The discussions went over the ongoing efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria, with a particular focus on refugees and the decreasing international support they are receiving.
A ministry statement noted that the two parties also emphasised the need to create a conducive environment for the voluntary return of refugees to Syria.
Safadi and Guterres discussed the consequences of reduced international support for Syrian refugees, as well as the scaling back of programmes by UN organisations operating in Jordan. This reduction would place a heavier burden on Jordan, which currently hosts approximately 1.3 million Syrian refugees.
Safadi, who discussed the refugee issue a few days ago in Geneva with the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock,
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen, Safadi reiterated the need for the international community to share the responsibility of meeting refugees' needs, highlighting that the effort cannot be solely borne by host countries.
He also underscored the importance of refugees' voluntary return to Syria as the fundamental solution to the crisis.
The Amman Statement, issued following a meeting of foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq with their Syrian counterpart, emphasised the significance of launching a pilot initiative, supervised by the United Nations, to facilitate the voluntary return of approximately 1,000 Syrian refugees.
This initiative aims to pave the way for the creation of favourable conditions for the broader voluntary return of refugees.
Safadi expressed his appreciation for the ongoing cooperation between Jordan and the UN in addressing the refugee crisis and providing essential services. He commended the UN's substantial humanitarian role in assisting Jordan in these endeavors.
Jordan cannot bear further burdens beyond what it has been shouldering for years, Safadi said, stressing that reducing services would have an impact on the refugees' right to receive the assistance necessary to meet their basic requirements.
Only about 10 per cent of Syrian refugees reside in refugee camps, and approximately 155,000 Syrian students are enrolled in government schools. Jordan also provides comprehensive healthcare services to Syrian refugees.
Guterres praised the Kingdom's significant humanitarian role in hosting refugees and providing them with vital services. He reaffirmed the“deep” partnership between Jordan and the UN in terms of meeting the needs of refugees and addressing various other issues.
During the meeting, Safadi shared the details of the Arab effort established after the Jeddah and Amman meetings with Guterres.
The Arab effort aims to take a leading role in achieving a political solution to the crisis in Syria, addressing its humanitarian, security and political ramifications. The approach follows the principle of step-by-step progress, in line with UN Resolution 2254.
Safadi emphasised the necessity of taking practical measures to resolve the crisis, and stated that continuing to rely on a crisis management approach is no longer feasible.
The meeting also highlighted the importance of providing unceasing support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Both Safadi and Guterres stressed that the agency, which has suffered from insufficient funding, is indispensable.
Safadi briefed the UN secretary-general on the efforts led by His Majesty King Abdullah to find a genuine political horizon that activates the peace process and achieves a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, in accordance with established references.
Safadi and Guterres underscored the significance of continuous consultation and coordination between Jordan and the UN.