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Jordan, Egypt, Palestine reiterate commitment to Mideast Peace

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Jordan, Palestine and Egypt on Sunday reiterated their commitment to the two-state solution as the only solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, expressing keenness to cooperate with the US administration in this regard. During the join press conference, it was reaffirmed the achievement of peace process, purposed during the 28th Arab Summit in Jordan, last month.  Discussions also included efforts to end the political stalemate by resuming “serious and effective” negotiations to solve the Palestinian-Israeli issue based on the two-state solution. They also highlight the necessity to involve US administration in the process. The meeting also addressed the issue of the 1,500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails and underlined the need for Israel to respond to their “humanitarian and just demands” in line with the international law and Geneva accords. Safadi, Shukri and Erekat affirmed their keenness to continue the dialogue and communication among each other and the rest of Arab countries, agreeing to meet again in Cairo and after that in Palestine.

 

Jordanians stage protest in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli

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Nearly 500 Jordanians took to the streets of Amman on Friday to express their solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, whose hunger strikes entered the 20th day.Protesters said they supported the prisoners’ requests for reforms in Israeli jails where they are being held. Palestinians said that the open-ended hunger strike was a protest against poor conditions and an Israeli policy of detention without trial that has been applied against thousands since the 1980s. Israel said the move by the prisoners, many of whom were convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israel, was politically motivated.

Yemen expresses disappointment at Arab Summit outcomes

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Following the Arab Summit held at the Dead Sea in Jordan a Foreign Ministry official expressed disappointment on the outcomes of the final statement of the Summit, which according to him ignored the peace process in Yemen and the daily killing of Yemeni civilians by the Saudi-led aggression coalition. The official added that the United Nations Security Council resolution 2216 legitimized the the Saudi-led aggression coalition war and their anti-humanitarian crimes in the country. In fine according to the yemeni official the Arab League has stood against the Yemeni people too.

TITLE: Foreign minister meets the first vice president of the cabinet, the foreign minister of Kuwait in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

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The foreign minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari met the first vice president of the cabinet, the foreign minister of Kuwait the Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on the sidelines of the Arab league meetings at the Dead Sea in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. During the meeting they discussed the bilateral relations between both countries and confirming the necessity of deepening it to serve the interests of both friendly people, and discussing the issues of common interests of Iraq, Kuwait and the Arab region. Both sides agreed on the importance of cooperation in all fields, and continuing the Consultations and adopting the Purposeful dialogues to save Arab unity, and facing the regional and international challenges.

Saudi Arabia keen to see cooperation and solidarity at Arab Summit

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During the Cabinet session at Yamaha Palace King Salman expressed his hope on the Arab Summit, that will be held in Jordan on Monday, and on the cooperation and solidarity that the summit will encreas in the Arab countries. Moreover on the latest development on the global level the Cabinet expressed its comdannation of the terror attack in London, welcomed the ministerial statement about the role of the global coalition to defeat Daesh and expressed ita appreciation on the Saudi donation to the international fund for the protection of cultural heritage compromised during armed conflicts. The Cabinet also authorized the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss with Norway a general agreement for cooperation between the Saudi and Norwegian governments and approved the establishment of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Guatemala.

Egypt could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy to fight terrorism

President Michel Aoun on Monday started his first visit to Cairo since his election in October and held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. “Hopes of the role that Egypt could play are high. An Egypt of moderation and openness… could launch an Arab rescue initiative based on a strategy to fight terrorism,” Aoun said at a joint press conference. The two sides “agreed on the need to stand together against the dangers of terrorism,” Sisi said, adding that Egypt was ready “to support the capabilities of Lebanon’s army and its various security bodies”. On Tuesday, Aoun will visit Jordan at the invitation of Jordanian King Abdullah II.

The Lebanese-Jordanian summit will address the Syrian and Iraqi refugees crisis

The Baabda Presidential Palace has completed arrangements for President Michel Aoun’s trip to Egypt and Jordan next week, his second Arab trip after his election as president. On Monday, Aoun will first meet in Cairo with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. He will later head to the Arab League headquarters for talks with its Secretary-General Ahmed AboulGheit. For their part, Lebanese ministers will hold meetings with their Egyptian counterparts. On Tuesday, Aoun will head to Jordan for talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II. The Lebanese-Jordanian summit will address the Syrian and Iraqi refugees crisis and study the ways to alleviate their impact on the economies of both countries.

UNRWA projects recieved $67 million from Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has contributed $67 million for projects to be implemented in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. UNRWA said its commissioner-general signed on Monday three agreements. The first, valued at $28 million, will support ongoing projects, including the reconstruction of shelters in Gaza. The second, valued at $32 million, will assist UNRWA in the reconstruction and furnishing of several health centers and schools in the West Bank and the implementation of several other ongoing projects; and the third, valued at $7 million, will provide funds for the reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of two health centers and one school in Jordan.

A military operation to cleanse the borderline between Iraq, Syria and Jordan

On May 19, the security committee member in Anbar Province, Bahr Barakat al-Eissawi has announced that the borderline between Iraq, Syria and Jordan west of Ramadi (110 km west of Baghdad) will be opened again: “The joint forces began, at noon today, a large-scale military operation to cleanse the borderline between Iraq, Syria and Jordan that extends from Rutba District and Trebil crossing point to al-Waleed crossing point west of Anbar. Trebil crossing point will be opened after completing the military operations against the terrorist cells and securing the international highway from Rutba District to Ramadi.” In this way, the most important trade passage between Iraq and Jordan could return to run within a few weeks.

Syrian refugee crisis: EU Trust Fund launches first response programmes for €40 million

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Syrian refugee crisis: EU Trust Fund launches first response programmes for €40 million, helping up to 400,000 people in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq

Brussels, 29 May 2015-  Today, the new EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, held its first board meeting and adopted European response programmes for € 40 million. It will provide aid to 400,000 Syrian refugees and host communities in need in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, focusing on education, livelihoods and food security targeting especially children and young people.

This Trust Fund provides a regional response to the regional dimensions of this crisis, thus enabling the EU and its Member States to intervene jointly, flexibly and quickly, in response to changing needs.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said: “While the EU continues to support all efforts to achieve a Syrian-led inclusive political transition, the EU and its Member States remain the largest contributors to the international response to the crisis. This Trust Fund is another illustration of the EU’s commitment to help the victims of this crisis of unprecedented magnitude in Syria and the neighbouring countries. Our objective is to contribute to a strategic de-escalation of violence in Syria and to help build resilience in the region more generally, in order to alleviate the suffering of the people and create a basis for a sustainable and inclusive political process”.

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn stated: “Helping Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey and through them the almost 4 million refugees they host on the ground, is the most effective means to turn despair and illegal trafficking into hope and resilience. As we had to witness in recent months, the conflict has direct consequences for EU security, notably through foreign fighters, terrorism, illegal migration and the polarisation between religious communities. The majority of refugees are children and young people, whose future holds little prospect and risks becoming a fertile breeding ground for radicalization if we don’t boost our response. The EU Trust Fund is a new and innovative way of pooling our resources into one single and flexible mechanism with high European visibility responding together to this unprecedented crisis in our southern neighbourhood. ”

German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller said: “I hope that the German contribution will move other member states or third countries to also make contributions to the EU Trust Fund. I am confident that, with this new instrument, we will be able to respond flexibly and without delay to the needs of the people in the crisis region of Syria and lraq, offering European assistance that is well coordinated and flexible.”

This funding comes from the EU budget and Italy while Germany pledged an additional contribution of €5 million which is subject to parliamentary approval. Further substantial contributions to the EU Trust Fund from the EU budget and Member States are expected before the end of the year, when a second round of response programmes can be adopted. The three response programmes launched today provide targeted support to the most affected Syrian refugees and their host communities in the region:

  • Firstly, with €17.5 million the EU Trust Fund will provide more than 200,000 Syrian refugee children in Turkey with additional second-shift Arabic teaching, life skills education, educational materials & school supplies and psychosocial support. There will be a special focus on access to safe spaces in host communities for Syrian children and adolescents, especially girls, to counter the risk of sexual and gender based violence. In addition, 3,700 Syrian volunteer teachers will receive training and incentives to enhance quality of education in Arabic; and more than 31,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees will receive monthly vouchers to get food.
  • Secondly, a new regional higher and further education facility for young Syrians will address the forced dropout of almost half of Syrian students from university since the beginning of the refugee crisis. In Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Syria, this programme of €12 million will reach and assist up to 20,000 young Syrians through a combination of full-time scholarships, full time enrolment in short-cycle higher education courses, face to face, blended and online. This EU Trust Fund programme will thus boost by four times the number of Syrian students presently receiving international assistance to continue their studies (currently 7,000), and thus help to reverse the radicalisation and brain drain resulting from the war in Syria.
  • The third programme of €10 million will sustain livelihoods by increasing short-, medium- and long-term economic opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, reaching up to 190,000 people in 90 poor communities most affected by the refugee influx. The programme will help in particular youth and women, by strengthening their prospects and those of host populations to be economically and socially productive. At least 15,000 unemployed and disillusioned youth will directly benefit through short-term work, training and community engagement.

Background

Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 11.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including almost 4 million who fled to neighbouring countries. Inside Syria alone more than 12 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, an increase of 30 percent compared to one year ago. The EU and its Member States have thus far mobilised €3.5 billion in aid to respond to the crisis.

In response to the Syria crisis the EU significantly increased its funding at the 15 March Third International Pledging Conference for Syria in Kuwait. Together, the European Commission and Member States pledged close to €1.1 billion – doubling the overall EU pledge at the 2014 Conference. Of this, €500 million in humanitarian aid, early recovery and longer-term stabilisation assistance come from the EU budget, which nearly triples the contribution from last year. EU Member States also increased their pledges compared to 2014.

The EU Trust Fund is open to all EU Member States, as well as to other donors, public or private. It will enhance Europe’s response to the crisis both as a donor and doer by addressing the massive and increasing resilience and stabilisation needs in Syria’s neighbouring countries, in particular Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, as well as over time also inside Syria. This fund may also be adapted to reconstruction needs in Syria in a future post-conflict scenario, thus becoming a funding vehicle for a future reconstruction effort. The Arabic name of the Trust Fund is “Madad”, broadly meaning providing help jointly with others.

This initiative should be seen as an integral part of the EU efforts to work with third countries on the comprehensive approach to managing migration better in all its aspects as also reflected in the European Agenda on Migration published on 13 May 2015.

Alessandro Conte
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