Jordan says can’t host more Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees queue to register their names at the Zaatari office for employment at the Zaatari refugee camp, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital Amman. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Jordan says can’t host more Syrian refugees

AMMAN: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday his country has exceeded its capacity to host refugees from Syria and is backing their voluntary return home.
Amman estimates that it has taken in close to 1.3 million refugees from its war-torn neighbor and says it has already spent more than $10 billion to host them.
It has repeatedly complained that hosting Syrian refugees is a burden on the country’s infrastructure and limited resources.
“The Kingdom encourages the voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. It is inevitable,” Safadi said during a meeting with UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi in Amman, according to his office.
In the statement, Safadi said Jordan had “exceeded its capacity” to host any more refugees from Syria and that the international community should shoulder its responsibilities.
In a tweet, Safadi also said that the “voluntary return of Syrians” is “an ultimate goal all must support.”
Some 650,000 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Jordan since fleeing their country’s conflict, which started with anti-government protests in 2011, although Amman gives a higher figure.
Earlier Monday King Abdullah II told Grandi that hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees is putting “increasing pressure” on Jordan’s infrastructure.


Algeria opposition propose six-month political transition

Updated 10 min 49 sec ago
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Algeria opposition propose six-month political transition

  • The roadmap stipulates the creation of a ‘presidential body’ that would run the country during the transition period
  • Algeria’s opposition however has been marginalized by the protest movement

ALGIERS: A group of Algerian opposition parties and unions proposed on Saturday a “roadmap” to end a political crisis and weeks of protests sparked by the veteran president’s bid to stay in power.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on February 22 he would run for a fifth term in April 18 elections, despite concerns about his ability to rule, triggering an outcry in the country which has since been gripped by demonstrations.

The 82-year-old, who uses a wheelchair and has rarely appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, earlier this month said he would pull out of the race.

But he also postponed the elections, meaning he will stay in power until polls are held.

Bouteflika’s current mandate expires on April 28 and proposals agreed at a meeting between opposition parties and unions call for a six-month transition period from that date.

The roadmap stipulates the creation of a “presidential body” that would run the country during the transition period and which would be comprised of “national figures known for their credibility, integrity and competence.”

But members of the body should not run in future presidential elections nor back any candidates in the poll, the statement seen by AFP said.

The proposals were made during a meeting attended namely by the party of Bouteflika’s key rival Ali Benflis, a former prime minister who has joined the opposition, and the main Islamist party, the Movement for the Society of Peace.

Algeria’s opposition however has been marginalized by the protest movement, which has been largely led by students angry with the country’s political system.

The proposals come a day after hundreds of thousands of Algerians demonstrated nationwide for a fifth consecutive Friday, demanding that Bouteflika stand down and calling for regime change.

On Saturday, around 1,000 lawyers rallied in the capital Algiers chanting “we’re fed up” with this government and calling on the political system to “go away.”