Jordan Closes Borders With Iraq, Kuwait
AMMAN, JORDAN — JORDAN said yesterday it was closing its border to all non-Jordanians fleeing Iraq and Kuwait until it gets international help to deal with them. ``We have decided not to receive any evacuees from all nationalities coming from Iraq and Kuwait unless specific plans are worked out for their departure by their governments and international bodies,'' said Salameh Hammad, Jordan's top refugee official.
Debt-strapped Jordan says it housed and fed 850,000 third-world nationals who fled Iraq and Kuwait after Baghdad invaded the emirate Aug. 2. The cost of caring for the refugees totaled $55 million and it has reportedly received only $12 million in international aid.
Mr. Hammad said the decision was made because of the ``lack of means of transport to their homelands and the nonavailability of necessary food and care.''
Prime Minister Mudar Badran told parliament yesterday his country asked Iraq not to allow refugees from Kuwait and Iraq to cross to Jordan. He said he was informed Egypt was going to close its airspace Jan. 13 - two days before the expiration of the UN deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Saudi Arabia has already reportedly closed its airspace. Jordanian officials worry that up to 2 million refugees could cross its borders if war occurs.