EU to send refugee mission to Iraq in early November

Other News Materials 24 September 2008 19:52 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union is to send a mission to Syria and Jordan to investigate the plight of Iraqi refugees there in the first week of November, officials from the European Commission confirmed Wednesday, dpa reported.

The "high-level fact-finding mission" is set to travel in the first week of November and should consist of experts from the commission, EU member states and the UN, commission spokesman Michele Cercone said.

The mission is intended to study the problems facing refugees from Iraq, with the aim of deciding whether and how the EU could help those for whom it would be too dangerous to return home.

The EU's member states have often been criticized for not doing enough to help Iraqi refugees and the authorities in Syria and Jordan who face the massive task of dealing with the main migrant flows.

Out of an estimated 2 million Iraqis who have fled their homeland since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, some 1.5 million are currently housed in Syria and 500,000 in Jordan.

In 2007, EU member states granted refugee status to 18,300 Iraqis. dpa bn scthe Iran talks appeared partly in anger over Western condemnation of its war with Georgia last month.