Tuesday, March 29, 2016

UN chief visits Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, meets Middle Eastern leaders in capital

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan
UN Photo Credit: Mark Garten

27 March 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continued his trip to the Middle East today with a visit to Jordan alongside World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, where they met with refugees from the Zaatari camp, as well as with senior government officials from Palestine, Turkey and Jordan, including King Abdullah II. “I was here at the beginning of the establishment of Zaatari camp and I saw a lot of difference: first of all, much more people, unfortunately, are there without being able to return,” Mr. Ban told reporters at a press conference about his second visit to the camp since it opened in 2012. “I saw lots of activities, signs of life. I could find everything which you may have in the centre of Amman city. Even a theatre was there, not to mention shopping centres and restaurants and sports centres. However nice all those facilities may be, it is not the same as what they could enjoy home in Syria,” he added. The Secretary-General's activities also included an open dialogue with youth in the capital, Amman, at the University of Jordan. He said thanks to its strong institutions, he is confident the country “will continue to play a principled role in the region and the world.” “Young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today. And you are part of the biggest generation of young people in history,” he told them. In meetings earlier today, Mr. Ban expressed his appreciation to Jordan for hosting Syrian refugees, and applauded the increased support by the international community to the countries most impacted by the Syrian crisis. An international conference was recently convened in London by the UN, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Kuwait, where $5.5 billion in funding was mobilized for this year. Mr. Ban said it was the “most successful one” but believes the global community needs to do much more. “That is why we are going to convene this World Humanitarian Summit, which will be the first-ever in the history of the United Nations, to discuss and to bring out some predictable sustainable framework to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 120 million people around the world, including Syrian refugees, including many helpless, defenseless people around the world,” he underlined, referring to the upcoming meeting on 23 and 24 May in Istanbul. UN News Centre