Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Za'atri Refugee Camp
Za'atri, Jordan
July 18, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, obviously, the stories that I’ve just heard and the people that I’ve just met put a real face on the level of the humanitarian crisis, and it underscores the urgency of the international community, one, helping to take care of these people and relieve the burden, but two, helping to bring an end to this crisis in Syria.

The stories are obviously horrendous. The life is very, very difficult. The burdens on Jordan are huge. And this is building into one of the great humanitarian crises on the face of the planet, and it’s getting worse by the day, not better. So I think coming here today puts a very real, human face and a searing, unforgettable passion and urgency to our needs to try to address it on an international scope.

Nasser, do you want add to that?

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: Well, I can’t add much more except to say that when we opened this camp a year ago in July 2012, it was as a result of the increasing numbers of Syrians flooding into Jordan at such an alarming rate at the time that we had to open the camp because many of them were coming in and living in Jordanian towns and urban centers. And we said when we opened this camp that we look forward to the day we will celebrate closing it. That means these proud Syrian people going back to their homes and living in security and peace and stability.

There are 120,000 people here in this camp approximately. That’s the number four or five largest city in Jordan. And Jordan has accepted them and is accepting our brothers and sisters from Syria coming in, but it doesn’t come without a cost. The international community and especially our friends in the United States have been not just helpful, but extremely supportive, but a lot more is needed. There’s an outpour of goodwill and help coming in to assist Jordan in doing its job on behalf of the international community, but I think a lot more is needed in order for the Syrian people to be attended to in different ways in terms of medical care and other services.

But at the end of the day, this is all the humanitarian spillover of a political and military crisis that’s taking place on Syrian soil just 10 miles away from here. And I think the end result is a political solution that will end the bloodshed and ensure that these people go back and resume their livelihood. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: How angry were the people that you met that the United States has not done more, in their view, to end the crisis in Syria and bring an end to the violence and the Assad regime?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I think they’re frustrated and angry at the world for not stepping in and helping. I think there are – and I explained to them I don’t think it’s as cut-and-dry and simple as some would look at it. But if I were in their shoes, I’d be looking for help from wherever I could find it. I think that President Obama has made certain that the United States of America is doing a huge amount here, and the American people should be very proud of the amount of their contribution to what is happening here. It’s the largest in the world.

So we are working at this. It’s not simple. It’s not easy. But I share their passion and frustration for the plight that they face on a day-to-day basis, the destruction of their homes, their villages, their cities, and the loss in many cases of many members of their families. So this is not easy, and that’s why we’re all working to try to find a solution to it.

MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much.

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PRN: 2013/T10-02