INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Demarche Delivered: Unhcr Request to Resettle

Published: Thu 18 Mar 2004 03:43 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS AMMAN 002098
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
DEPT FOR NEA AND PRM; GENEVA FOR RMA; CPA BAGHDAD FOR MODM
ADVISOR
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL KPAL KWBG IS IZ JO
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: UNHCR REQUEST TO RESETTLE
IRAQI-PALESTINIANS
REF: STATE 56688
1. (SBU) Refcoord delivered ref points in separate
conversations with UNHCR Jordan Representative Sten Bronee
and UNHCR Iraq Representative Yacoub El Hillo on March 16,
emphasizing that a voluntary return to Iraq was the only
possible solution for the 348 Iraqi-Palestinians remaining in
Ruweished refugee camp. PolCouns reinforced the points in a
separate conversation later the same day. While UNHCR
continues to pursue a regional solution for this group
("return" to the West Bank and Gaza or residency in Jordan or
another Arab country), Bronee said he recognizes that the
possibilities of regional resettlement are slim. He
commented that U.S. opposition to resettlement of
Palestinians outside the region -- including on family
reunification grounds -- would make other traditional
resettlement countries reluctant to consider the
Iraqi-Palestinians. Nevertheless, UNHCR would continue to
pursue resettlement possibilities with Australia, Canada,
Sweden and Norway. Realistically, he continued, return to
Iraq was indeed the only viable solution for this group but
security conditions in Baghdad would make it difficult for
UNHCR Iraq to organize a voluntary repatriation program.
Bronee also claimed erroneously that UNHCR Iraq has been
unable to find solutions for the displaced Palestinians in
Baghdad.
2. (SBU) Because UNHCR is about to embark on a comprehensive
profile of the Iraqi-Palestinians, Bronee requested that
refcoord postpone a visit to Ruweished refugee camp until
early April. Bronee hopes the profiling exercise will
identify candidates for "family reunification" cases in the
West Bank and Gaza and resettlement/family reunification
cases outside the region. UNHCR will not develop contingency
plans for the voluntary return of the Palestinians to Iraq
until it has completed the profile. Bronee welcomed
refcoord's suggestion that all future discussions of this
issue include representatives from the UNHCR Iraq mission,
noting that he has been unable to coordinate strategies on
this issue even though the Iraq team works just one floor
above the Jordan office. The Iraq mission, he complained,
has not treated the new caseload as a high priority.
3. (SBU) Separately, Bronee told refcoord he had been
convoked by Minister of Interior Habashneh, who complained
that 100 Iraqi-Palestinians had slipped out of the Ruweished
camp and disappeared into Amman. Most had subsequently been
found and returned by GOJ authorities to the camp but
Habashneh asked Bronee to tighten up operations and
reorganize the camp so GOJ police could keep better watch
over the camp's inhabitants. Bronee interpreted this request
as an indication the GOJ would allow the camp to remain open
beyond the current April 9 deadline.
4. (SBU) Comment: Despite our pleas for better
coordination, the UNHCR Jordan and Iraq missions continue to
exhibit a total disconnect between their priorities and
programs. We will insist that any meetings to address these
cross-boder issues include representatives from both
missions. Reinforcement of this message in Geneva would also
be helpful.
5. (U) CPA Baghdad minimize considered.
GNEHM
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