UN chief visits Zaatari camp, meets with Middle Eastern leaders in Jordan

Published March 28th, 2016 - 09:07 GMT
UN chief Ban Ki-moon holds a press conference with the World Bank president, Jordan's foreign minister and planning minister at the ministry of foreign affairs in Amman on March 27, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad Abdo)
UN chief Ban Ki-moon holds a press conference with the World Bank president, Jordan's foreign minister and planning minister at the ministry of foreign affairs in Amman on March 27, 2016. (AFP/Ahmad Abdo)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday visited Syrian refugees in Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, before meeting with government officials from around the Middle East during a regional tour, the UN said in a statement.

In Ban's second visit to the refugee camp since 2012, he told reporters, “I was here at the beginning of the establishment of Zaatari camp and I saw a lot of difference: first of all, much more people, unfortunately, are there without being able to return.”

The UN chief later met with senior government leaders, including King Abdullah of Jordan, and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, when he praised both countries for hosting refugees.

The visit comes a week after a new deal struck by Turkey and the European Union was implemented, which calls for Greece to deport new migrants and refugees back to Turkey. In exchange, Turkey is to receive some $7 billion in aid and relaxed visa restrictions for travel to the EU for Turkish nationals.

Ban also mentioned the need for the international community to step up its support to solve the refugee crisis, referencing a recent summit in London which mobilized $5.5 billion in aid, and the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May.

In a separate meeting in Amman, the UN chief also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in which the two discussed ongoing Israeli raids, detention of Palestinians, and settlement activity.


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