Turkey should not be alone in its aid for Syrian refugees, US says
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Anne C. Richard, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (L) and the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance with USAID Nancy Lindborg (R) have visited the Islahiye refugee camp. AA photoTurkey is doing sterling work in providing humanitarian aid for Syrians that have sought sanctuary on its soil, the head of a visiting U.S. delegation has said, while noting that it should not be abandoned in its efforts to care for refugees.
"Turkey has done great work. But it should not be alone in this. The United States has been making major [contributions] to the international efforts,” said Anne C. Richard, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at a press conference late Jan. 25 in Ankara.
Richard is part of a U.S. Department of State and and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) delegation currently visit Turkey.
Richard said U.S. officials had been talking to their counterparts about the possibility of an increased influx of refugees. "I pray it doesn't happen, but we would be foolish not to make such preparations."
Also speaking at the press meeting, the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance with USAID, Nancy Lindborg, said their visit to Turkey aimed to present a strong message to the Syrian people that the U.S. was in solidarity with them.
She said Syria’s government had cut off access to basic needs such as fuel and flour, adding that the U.S. had launched a new program to supply bread to 210,000 a day in Aleppo as part of $220 million in U.S. aid.
Makdissi not in US: Ambassador
Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was also part of the delegation, said he was very impressed by a visit to the Islahiye refugee camp in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.
Ford also said Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, who defected late last year, was not in the U.S. as had been alleged by several sources.
Responding to a question as to whether the U.S. was talking to Russia over Syria, Ford said Washington officials regularly held contacts with Russia but added that it was “not a secret that our positions are not identical."
"The U.S. is sending a delegation to Kuwait, and we hope other countries send ones as well. The U.S. would welcome a large pledge from Russia," Ford said, referring to an international meeting in Kuwait to boost humanitarian aid for Syria’s people.