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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King Chairs Meeting at Army Headquarters to Coordinate Relief Aid Efforts to Palestinians
Amman, 10 April 2002

His Majesty King Abdullah II, Wednesday chaired a meeting at the Armed Forces Headquarters attended by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Al Hussein, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt General Khaled Jameel Sarayreh and his aides. The meeting was devoted to discuss means of securing safe passages to bring in medical and food supplies from Jordan and Arab countries to the Palestinian towns that are under Israeli attack. As part of his efforts to coordinate relief efforts, King Abdullah also met at the Army Headquarters with representatives of the UN and non-government organizations . The King listened to the problems and obstacles impeding NGOs' humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people. To that end, King Abdullah ordered the establishment of a center at the Army Headquarters to run relief operations and secure getting medical and food supplies to the Palestinian areas. Another subsidiary of the center will be opened to facilitate NOGs' humanitarian aids. The two centers in cooperation with NGOs' representatives will conduct studies on the ground to determine the most needed aid to Palestinian brothers.' ‘You have your contacts on the ground . How can we in Jordan support you. If you could tell us what you need: baby food, milk, medical supplies so that we could coordinate all the humanitarian aid,' King Abdullah told representatives of UNICEF, Save the Children, UNRWA, the international Committee of the Red Cross and other aid groups, who earlier on in the day discussed the same issues with Her Majesty Queen Rania. King Abdullah noted that a lot of Arab aid was pouring into Jordan for the Palestinians and said he wanted the NGOs and UN aid agencies to tell him exactly what was needed on the ground. On Tuesday, the first Jordanian air force helicopter swung across the River Jordan and into the besieged West Bank town of Ramallah to deliver the first 1,000 blood units. Fourteen trucks meanwhile crossed the border at King Hussein Bridge carrying up to 280 tons of food and medical supplies to the West Bank. During the meeting, which was attended by the Chief of Royal Court, King Abdullah called the NGOs to coordinate their humanitarian aids inside the Palestinian areas and to work in team spirit and determine their priorities. ‘We in Jordan will do our utmost to back NGOs' humanitarian aid operations and to make sure that relief supplies get to the Palestinian towns as quickly as possible, particularly those coming from Arab countries' the King said. His Majesty noted that relief operations will continue for weeks even after Israel's withdrawals. Once Israeli troops begin a full-circle withdrawal from the West Bank ‘we are going to be on the verge of dealing with a catastrophe there,' King Abdullah said. Two more army planes flew to the West Bank on Wednesday carrying more blood as well as 25-member medical crew which has been entrusted by the Jordanian Health Ministry with setting up two field hospitals in Jenin and Nablus in addition the one already set up in Ramallah. ‘We opened up an air bridge,' King Abdullah said noting that the projected Jordanian field hospitals would be set up after Israel's withdrawal and this needs more coordinated efforts to make sure that relief supplies arrive to the most needy areas and in due time. King Abdullah urged NGOs representatives to keep in touch with the media to help inform the world of the difficulties that hinder their relief operations in the Palestinian areas and to draw world attention to the Palestinian people's suffering. NGOs' representatives expressed high appreciation to King Abdullah's initiative and his continuous to alleviate the Palestinian people's suffering and to back NGO's humanitarian operations.