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Italian president tours Zaatari camp, affirms support for Jordan


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Italian President Sergio Mattarella landed in Amman on Tuesday for a seven-day visit to Jordan before touring Zaatari camp, to have a first-hand look at services extended to refugees and to identify their needs.
Zaatari camp is a unique experience, not because it is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, but because of the level of services offered to Syrian refugees and its organised management, Mattarella said, adding that he valued the Kingdom’s humanitarian efforts.
Italy is committed to supporting refugee-burdened Jordan, the president said. Mattarella also expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s role as a centre for stability in the Middle East and underscored the need for more international and UN support to alleviate Jordan’s burdens.
During his visit, Mattarella also toured the Italian-Jordanian Hospital in Mafraq, 80km northeast of Amman, as well as “Oasis” — safe space for women and girls and a crafts centre organised by UN Women, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Minister of State for Investment Affairs Muhannad Shehadeh said that the Kingdom had been put under pressure and assumed onerous burdens in the fields of services, security and education, calling on the international community to stand by the Kingdom and help alleviate the Syrian crisis’ burdens and support Jordan.
The projects and services designated for Syrian refugees are monitored in cooperation with 45 UN agencies working in the camp, head of the Syrian Refugees Directorate Bilal Omari said.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also briefed Mattarella on the camp’s upgrades, along with challenges hindering their work.
Later on Tuesday, the Italian president and his daughter visited Beit Al Liqaa Centre for Special Needs in Madaba, Petra added.
Inaugurated in July of 2012, Zaatari camp near the Syrian border, 100km northwest of Amman, is among the largest refugee camps in the world, housing over 83,500 Syrian refugees, according to official figures.

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