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US and Jordan Discuss Syrian Crisis in DC

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With the lingering crisis and the continuing violence engulfing Syria, the United States of America and Jordan today discussed the worsening humanitatian and security situation of the country.

In his remarks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh after their meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry says they talked about the obvious challenge of Syria.

"And this is of particular significance to Jordan because they have somewhere in the vicinity of 330,000 perhaps more refugees." - Mr. Kerry

Both countries are currently engaged in a humanitarian effort directed at about 250,000 of them, with approximately $52 million or so from the American people, in an effort to address this humanitarian challenge.

He says it is going to grow, not get smaller, as the conflict continues.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon living in cramped quarters (6 August 2012).Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The crisis underscores the importance of the global community holding President Assad accountable for what he and his regime are doing to the people of Syria and to the region, and both countries remain committed with respect to that issue, Mr. Kerry stated.

"We also on a personal level, this is going to be critical to Jordanians going forward." - Mr. Kerry

Mr. Kerry says Jordan's borders are particularly under siege.

He cites Jordan had as many as 3,000, several thousand, 2,000 to 3,000 people a night over the last weeks crossing over.

Mr. Kerry undersscores that's a challenge ahd he adds that a camp that was set up in a week to deal with the issue originally is now 90,000 people.

"It's their fourth or fifth largest city in Jordan. And there are now needs to grow yet another camp." - Mr. Kerry

Mr. Kerry cites that the US government does not want to turn that region into a refugee center, and so it underscores the urgency of continuing the pressure on Syria.

In addition, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh also reaffirms that Jordan has been at the receiving end of the humanitarian spillover of the ongoing crisis in Syria with over 360,000 Syrians on Jordanian soil, and this is only since the crisis began in March 2011.

According to Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, as Secretary Kerry pointed out, about 90,000 happen to be in camps, but the rest are in Jordanian towns, villages, living in Jordanian homes.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh points out that while Jordan has taken the political decision at His Majesty's directives to keep its borders open to receive those Syrian brothers and sisters who are escaping these harsh and horrific realities on the ground, it does not come without a toll on its already drained and burdened economy.

Portraits of President Bashar al-Assad, and his father, former President Hafez al-Assad. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
US Bilateral Relations with Jordan

According to Mr. Kerry, the US government enormously appreciative of its relationship with Jordan.

"It is strong and important to us, and the Foreign Minister is really an old friend." - Mr. Kerry

Over the years, Mr. Kerry has seen the trade and investment relationship between us and Jordan grow, and that has created jobs in the United States, and it has created jobs also in Jordan.

In April 2010, marking the 60th Anniversary of U.S.-Jordanian diplomatic relations and the 10th Anniversary of signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Jordan and the U.S., the first with an Arab country, the U.S.-Jordan Investment and Trade Forum kicked off in both Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Organized by the Economic and Commerce Bureau of the Embassy of Jordan and the Jordan Investment Board in cooperation with the U.S.-Jordan Business Alliance and in partnership with the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), the forum highlighted the significant impact of the historic bilateral economic relationship and presents a platform for American and Jordanian private sector leaders and senior government officials to explore investment and business opportunities.

According to media reports, nearly two years into Syria's civil war, the region faces a staggering humanitarian disaster.

More than 600,000 Syrians reportedly have fled to over-burdened neighboring countries and the UN anticipates that number could soon exceed 1 million if the exodus continues at its current pace of about 3,000 refugees a day.

Inside Syria, more than 2 million civilians are displaced and the UN estimates that 4 million are in dire need of assistance.

Syrians Struggling to Survive

Syrian civilians are struggling to survive in communities besieged by violence, chaos and destruction. Entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble. Fleeing families face recurring displacement amid a moving frontline. Supplies of food, water and electricity have sharply dwindled, sanitation in many areas has halted, increasing the threat of disease, yet medical care has become scarce.

The ongoing conflict in Syria has created a severe and growing humanitarian crisis, and the humanitarian organizations currently operating in Syria are tirelessly working to get aid out as quickly as possible into areas where safety and security are questionable.

The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 60, 000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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