US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley has scheduled her first trip overseas this week, traveling to Jordan and Turkey to focus on the plight of Syrian refugees. Haley will meet with government officials and representatives of non-governmental organisations and UN agencies during the visit from May 19 to 25.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the US resettlement programme for refugees from Syria, fulfilling one of his core campaign promises. That order, which also banned entry for citizens from six Muslim countries, was blocked in US courts.
“No country has invested more in protecting, housing, feeding and caring for Syrian refugees than the US,” Haley wrote in an op-ed published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal. She said her trip is aimed to show that the US could not be accused of “heartlessness” in dealing with the refugee crisis.
The United States has provided nearly USD 6.5 billion in aid for Syria since 2011, she said, adding that the US administration will continue to support countries on the front line of the refugee crisis.
Turkey hosts nearly three million of the more than five million refugees who have fled the civil war over the past six years. In Jordan, some 657,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the UN, but the government says the true figure is in excess of 1.3 million.
Haley’s first visit to the field comes as UN agencies are worried about proposed US funding cuts that could cripple the world body’s humanitarian work.