Iraqis cost Jordanian treasury 2.26 billion dollars: Minister

Other News Materials 12 February 2008 17:50 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Jordanian government on Tuesday told the visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres, that Iraqi refugees in the country cost the treasury 1.6 billion dinars (2.26 billion dollars) over the past three years, and appealed for help from the international community.

Guterres met with Interior Minister Eid al-Fayez, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Suhair al-Ali and three other cabinet members to evaluate the conditions of more than 500,000 Iraqis who fled to Jordan after the 2003 US-led invasion of their country.

Al-Ali briefed the UNHCR on the "huge economic burdens incurred by Jordan as a result of hosting a large number of Iraqis," an official statement said.

She estimated the drain on infrastructure and public utilities by Iraqis in the last three years at more than 1.6 billion dinars and pressed Guterres to "urge the world community to come to Jordan's assistance," it added.

Minister of Education Taysir Nuaimi put the number of Iraqi students at Jordanian public schools at more than 24,000.

"Iraqi students can be admitted at public schools regardless of obtaining residence permits," he said.

Guterres promised to follow up the issue with donor countries with a view to ensuring aid to Jordan to enable it to carry on with hosting Iraqi refugees, the statement said.