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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Stresses UN Role in Iraq
Amman, 13 April 2003

His Majesty King Abdullah II affirmed the importance of the role of the United Nations in Iraq particularly with regard to the delivery of assistance and basic social services to the Iraqi people.

During a meeting in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Rania at Al Baraka Palace today with Mr. Ramiro Lopes da Silva the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq and Ms. Christine McNab UN Resident Representative in Jordan, His Majesty pointed out that Jordan has high expectations with regard to the efforts of the United Nations in providing social, medical and sanitation services to Iraqis in order to overcome the current crisis. His Majesty indicated that Jordan is prepared to coordinate with the United Nations in this regard.

Their Majesties expressed their concern for the deteriorating health, living and security conditions of millions of Iraqis. His Majesty stressed the importance that the US and British troops assume their responsibilities in restoring law and order and facilitate the tasks of the government and NGOs willing to provide support and assistance to the Iraqi people.

During the meeting that was attended by Ministers of the Royal Hashemite Court, Planning and State for Foreign Affairs, Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania pointed out to the arrangements and preparations taken by the government to ensure the delivery of assistance to Iraq and provide medical care particularly to Iraqi children. Their Majesties also pointed out to the two field hospitals that are in the process of being sent to Iraq in the near future and to Jordan's keen interest to facilitate the tasks of NGOs that intend to provide their services in Iraq.

For his part, Mr. da Silva emphasized that the United Nations Office in Jordan intends to expand its activities in Iraq gradually. He said that the Allied Forces have to assume their responsibilities in accordance with the Geneva Convention in restoring law and order in Iraq that would allow for the return of all United Nations staff in this country.

Mr. da Silva expressed his concern for the current situation of chaos and anarchy in Iraqi cities. He warned from the complications in the situation there as a result of looting and score settling.

The United Nations team will provide basic social services to the Iraqi people in the short run.

According to Mr. da Silva the services provided differ from one area to another. In the central and south areas the services are related to water, sanitation and medical services. However, in the northern governorates there is an urgent need to resume the distribution of food to citizens, which was stopped following the departure of the Untied Nations from Iraq before the war.

The World Food Programme started to distribute food in the northern governorates in recent days in cooperation with the United Nations staff.

Mr. da Silva stressed that education is a major component of the humanitarian process and he expressed his concern that schools have been looted indicating his hope to restructure the educational curricula in Iraq.