Saudi Arabia to aid Jordan with Syrian refugees

Jordanian prime minister blames refugee situation on Israeli refusal to allow Palestinians into Jewish state.

Syrian refugees at Zaatari camp in Jordan 370 (R) (photo credit: Muhammad Hamed / Reuters)
Syrian refugees at Zaatari camp in Jordan 370 (R)
(photo credit: Muhammad Hamed / Reuters)
Saudi Arabia said Friday it will give Jordan $10 billion to help it deal with Syrian refugees, a day after the Jordanian prime minister said his country will not accept Palestinian refugees from Syria and shifted the blame to Israel.
Meanwhile, Jordan sent a delegation to an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Sunday, held to deal with the refugee situation in the region caused by the Syrian conflict and the recent bout of severe weather, as reported by the Jordanian newspaper Al-Rai.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said at the meeting that a political solution is required that will maintain Syria’s territorial integrity, according to a report Sunday by the Jordan News Agency.
Judeh claimed that Jordan is currently hosting 300,000 Syrians, including 60,000 in refugee camps and 240,000 in Jordanian cities and villages, and that it spent $600 million last year on the crisis.
He went on to predict that by June, 425,000 refugees will have entered Jordan.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it is donating $10b. in aid to Jordan in order to help the country with the refugee crisis.
Jordan’s Zaatari camp is currently housing at least 30,000 refugees.
In an interview a few days ago in the London-based Arab daily Al-Hayat, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Jordan refuses to accept Palestinian refugees, and blamed Israel for preventing them from returning to their homes in the Jewish state.
“Jordan is not the place to solve the problems of Israel, and it has made a clear and explicit sovereign decision to not allow the crossing to Jordan by our Palestinian brothers who hold Syrian documents. Receiving those brothers is a red line because that would be a prelude to another wave of displacement, which is what the Israeli government wants,” Ensour said.
“Our Palestinian brothers in Syria have the right to go back to their country of origin. They should stay in Syria until the end of the crisis.”
Jordan is increasingly concerned about the refugee situation, which it sees as destabilizing an already sensitive domestic situation – as the Muslim Brotherhood pressures the government to make reforms and hold fair elections. This is in addition to the worry that refugees will worsen other such tensions, as Palestinians already comprise the majority of Jordan’s citizenry and part of the Islamist opposition, yet are underrepresented in the halls of power.
Reuters contributed to this report.