Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr today called on the world community to acknowledge the massive burden on Jordan as a result of the unresolved crisis in Syria.
Speaking following talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Judeh in Amman today, Senator Carr said more than 145,000 Syrian refugees had now fled to Jordan, with up to half a million more on the move inside Syria.
“I appeal to the world to take notice, not just of the crisis in Syria, but of the burden to Jordan that this crisis represents,” Senator Carr said.
“Jordan is one of the ten poorest countries in the world in terms of water supplies.
“It already houses 450,000 Iraqi and up to 2 million Palestinian refugees.
“And with more than a thousand Syrians a day fleeing across the border to Jordan, hospitals, shelter and water supplies are severely stretched.
“Around three quarters of these new refugees are women and children, some with gunshot wounds after being fired on by Syrian border guards.
“While the Security Council fails to act on Syria, the problem is spilling over into Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
“Jordan is a moderate country with a record of religious tolerance. The stresses on this country must be counted as yet another cost of the world community’s failure to settle on effective action.”
Senator Carr said Australians would also be disappointed at the resignation of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, who has cited disunity on the Security Council and the intransigence of the Assad regime as the reasons for his departure.
Australian aid for Syrian refugees currently stands at $16 million, and has contributed to food and health care for around 350,000 Syrians since the conflict began, and the medical evacuation of around 500 seriously wounded civilians to hospitals in Lebanon.