Jordan: ICRC president discusses regional humanitarian challenges

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01-09-2014 News Release 14/154

Geneva/Amman (ICRC) – Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), today completed a two-day visit to Jordan. He met with Prince El Hassan Bin Talal and with Abdullah Ensour, the prime minister, and Nasser Judeh, the minister of foreign affairs and expatriate affairs. This was Mr Maurer’s first visit to Jordan since assuming office in August 2012.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Ensour, Mr Maurer exchanged views on the humanitarian situation in the countries most affected by armed conflict in the Middle East. The ICRC president reaffirmed the organization's commitment to neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action.

"Our talks focused on current humanitarian challenges, particularly in countries neighbouring Jordan," said Mr Maurer. "We maintain a regular dialogue with the Jordanian authorities on a range of humanitarian issues. We are keen to strengthen cooperation between the ICRC and Jordan in the field of humanitarian assistance."

The visit came after the ICRC recently established a permanent presence in northern Jordan to increase its proximity to Syrian refugees.

Mr Maurer also met with Dr Mohammed Mitlek Al-Hadid, the president of Jordan National Red Crescent Society, to review existing cooperation and discuss possible further joint action to respond to the growing needs of Syrian refugees in the country. In addition, the ICRC president visited the Za’atari camp accommodating Syrian refugees, where he assured refugee families of the commitment of the ICRC and the Jordan National Red Crescent to do everything in their power to minimize the suffering. "We will not turn our backs on the refugees; once they are able to go back home, we will do everything we can to help them restart their lives," he said.

Mr Maurer also had occasion to attend a round-table discussion on the topic of "Water and Armed Conflict" and to inaugurate a photo exhibition, taking place under the patronage of Prince El Hassan Bin Talal, on ICRC activities in Jordan and nearby countries. "Water issues are central to the causes and impact of Middle East conflicts," he said. "The rising violence of the past few years and record-low rainfall have made clean water increasingly difficult to come by; the ICRC is working with the local authorities in the region to improve access to clean water for millions of people."

The ICRC has been working since 1967 in Jordan, where its main activities consist in visiting detainees to monitor the conditions in which they are being held and the treatment they receive, helping civilians and foreign detainees restore contact with their families, and promoting international humanitarian law throughout Jordanian society in close cooperation with the Jordan National Red Crescent Society. In response to the Syrian crisis, the ICRC has stepped up its efforts to help meet the growing needs of refugees. The ICRC delegation in the country provides logistical support for the organization's relief operations throughout the region.

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