Jordan: Refugees must return to Iraq

Hundreds of Palestinian refugees who had fled Iraq at the start of the war and are stuck in no-man’s land on the Jordanian border must return to Iraq.

    Amman says it cannot accept new refugees

    Jordanian Interior Minister Samir Habashnah told journalists on Sunday that Amman would not accept new refugees, saying it was out of question.

    The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) voiced concern on Friday about 427 Palestinians trapped in no-man’s land on the Jordanian border after fleeing Iraq at the start of the US-led war in March.

    The Palestinians are among 1800 people living in refugee camps in eastern Jordan since the Iraq invasion.

    “Conditions in the border camps are worsening with the approaching winter. The situation at the frontier is particularly acute for the 427 Palestinians,” said the UNHCR in a statement.

    Repatriation

    Amman hosts the world’s largest group of Palestinian refugees. It had done much to help relieve the situation and it was up to other countries to follow suit, said the world body.

    Many of the refugees appeared willing to go to the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel, said the UNHCR, adding that it was willing to discuss the issue with them.

    Twenty-six of the Palestinians hold Egyptian documents and three have Lebanese papers, said Habashnah. Sixteen Palestinians have been repatriated to Egypt, but Amman is still discussing with Cairo and Beirut plans to take in the others.

    A group of 70 Somali and Sudanese nationals who have been granted refugee status in third countries should also be leaving the camps by March or April, said Habashneh.

    SOURCE: AFP


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