Jordan seeks help as EU meets over Syria
AMMAN / BRUSSELS
Jordan’s King Abdullah (R) walks with Greek Cypriot President in Amman. AP photoJordanian Prime Minister Fayez Tarawaneh said yesterday the growing influx of Syrian refugees to Jordan was “beyond our capabilities,” expecting even more to join the exodus.
“The numbers (of Syrian refugees) are becoming beyond our capabilities, beyond even our expectations and we expect more as things deteriorate in Syria,” he told a joint news conference with visiting Greek Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
‘I got the message’
“We are shouldering a big burden in so many fields, especially water.” Jordan has said it needs $700 million in international aid to cope with an influx of 240,000 refugees from the conflict across the border in Syria. There are currently 185,000 Syrians in Jordan. “I got some messages yesterday and today from our friends regarding the Syrian crisis and the daily needs for the refugees. I promised that I will convey them very soon to the leadership of the European Union for additional assistance to our friends in Jordan,” Christofias told reporters. Greek Cyprus currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. European Union foreign ministers meet today to try and find a way out of a conflict. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has put Syria top of the agenda for a two-day informal ministerial meeting in Greek Cyprus, Agence France-Presse reported.
Ashton’s to-do list calls for improved liaison with the Syrian opposition, more humanitarian aid and, last but not least, preparing for a political transition. “Sooner or later, al-Assad will fall and the EU will have to be ready to respond. We must prepare well in advance,” said a European diplomat who asked not to be named.