BEIRUT: Lebanon and Jordan have yet to receive recently pledged financial aid from donor countries to help Syrian refugees scattered in host countries, representatives from the two countries said Friday.
After talks between Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and his Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour, both parties “affirmed they have not received any help from aid that Arab and Western countries pledged to donate for host countries to cope with refugees,” according to the National News Agency.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mansour said the $1.5 billion pledged during the Kuwait international donor conference for Syrian refugees in January was allocated to international organizations but not the states.
The financial pledges were aimed at assisting host countries to cope with the rising number of Syrian refugees, which the U.N. estimates could reach 1 million in the coming months.
According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees’ recent report, Lebanon alone hosts over 300,000 Syrians, more than any country in the region. The Lebanese government has made an appeal for nearly $200 million to help aid refugees.
Jordan, which appealed in September for $700 million in international aid for 2012, has said that it is struggling with a $5-billion budget deficit but that it is still aiding refugees awaiting the financial pledges.
Judeh also said financial aid should also go to states, citing as an example the burden his country was facing at the economic level because of the high number of Syrian refugees Jordan was hosting.
“There is a mechanism in which aid goes to international organizations concerned with refugees in each country but it should also go to the states whose economies are suffering,” he said.
“In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, we are hosting over 450,000 Syrian refugees who have come since March 2011 ... the economies in Lebanon and Jordan are suffering and burdened even further given economic challenges,” the Jordanian foreign minister added.
In his 21st report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned that Lebanon is facing “increasing challenges” with the influx of Syrian refugees.
Ban, according to the advance copy of the report obtained by The Daily Star, called for Lebanon to be provided with the funds pledged earlier this year by the international community.
During the meeting between Mansour and Judeh, the Jordanian said his country’s border would remain open for the refugees, despite the difficulties.
“Jordan's stance toward Syria is clear and the border will not be closed between the two despite more than 3,000 Syrians entering on a daily basis,” Judeh said.
According to Judeh, talks with Mansour also focused on the need to find “means and ways to offer humanitarian aid to those in need on Syrian territory as an effective method to limit the numbers entering Lebanon and Jordan.”