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    02-Sep-2019

‘Nothing can justify depriving Palestine refugees from basic rights'

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom on Sunday affirmed that the two countries are strategically and continuously working to expand areas of economic, trade and tourism cooperation between Amman and Stockholm.
 
During a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Amman on Sunday, the top diplomats also highlighted ongoing efforts to enhance coordination between the two countries regarding regional and international issues to overcome regional crises and achieve security and stability, a ministry statement said.
 
Safadi and Wallstrom discussed the latest regional developments, with the Palestinian cause taking the forefront, as well as hurdles facing recommencing the peace process to end the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.
 
The two ministers also discussed the financial crisis facing UNRWA and the necessity of ensuring that the agency continues to provide services to refugees in accordance with its UN mandate, agreeing on moving forward with the two countries’ joint efforts to mobilise support for the organisation.
 
Talks also covered efforts exerted towards reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis, the Yemeni conflict and the war on terror, according to the statement.
 
In remarks to the press following the meeting, Safadi expressed gratitude for Sweden’s support to the Kingdom in carrying the burden of the Syrian refugee crisis, and commended Stockholm’s support to UNRWA, which manifested in a partnership with Jordan to organise several events to cover the agency’s financial needs.
 
He pointed out Sweden’s contributions to the refugee agency, the latest of which was a sum of $200 million over four years.
 
“More than 560,000 Palestinian students, including 122,000 in Jordan, are starting school this week and receiving their basic right to education thanks to support from Sweden and a number of other countries,” Safadi told the press, adding that sustaining UNRWA’s services is a lifeline and a political necessity.
 
“Nothing can justify depriving Palestinian children and refugees from their rights to education and a dignified life,” the top diplomat stressed.
 
The fate of UNRWA, which is currently facing a $120-million budget deficit, is connected to the issue of refugees, which must be resolved in a way that guarantees their right of return or compensation, in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, Safadi noted.
 
Safadi highlighted that the two countries agree on a two-state solution as an irreplaceable resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, noting that the only way to achieve comprehensive peace is through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the June 4, 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international legislation and the Arab Peace Initiative. 
 
The minister warned of the consequences of Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and attempts to tamper with the Arab, Muslim and Christian identity of Jerusalem’s holy sites. 
 
These assaults will only lead to an escalation of the conflict, threatening peace regionally and internationally, Safadi said, calling for a “firm” international stance to face such transgressions.
 
The minister stressed that Jerusalem is a “red line” for His Majesty King Abdullah, the Custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian shrines, noting that protecting Jerusalem is a joint Arab, Islamic and international responsibility. 
 
Safadi urged the intensification of efforts towards a resolution to the Syrian crisis, one that is accepted by Syria’s people, maintains the country’s unity, restores its security and sets the stage for the voluntary return of refugees. 
 
He also underlined the need to end the conflict in Yemen through political dialogue, in adherence to the Stockholm agreement. 
 
He noted Jordan’s support to Saudi Arabia’s initiative for dialogue, according to the statement. 
 
“We have followed up today and with great concern the developments in Lebanon,” Safadi said, stressing the need to respect United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon’s sovereignty.
 
During the meeting, Wallstrom shed light on the strong bilateral relations, pointing to continuous cooperation between the two countries. 
 
She reiterated the need for continuous support to a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and effective dialogue in furthering the Middle East’s peace process.
 
 

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