Rice, UNHCR to discuss Iraqi refugee crisis next week
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (NNN-KUNA) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet here next week with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to discuss the refugee crisis flowing from Iraq.
"On the refugee issue in Iraq, I am very concerned about it," Rice said during testimony on Wednesday before the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Rice said the State Department has requested USD 35 million in fiscal 2008 funds for the Iraqi refugee problems, as well as an additional USD 60 million in the supplemental budget "to try to help neighbouring states deal with the problem."
The Washington Post on Sunday reported that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees have resettled in Lebanon and Syria, and thousands more have migrated to other nearby countries since the U.S. invasion of Iraq four years ago.
Rice said she will meet with Guterres to talk about the refugee problem "because it is a very significant situation. We are also very concerned, and a number of people have asked me about people who may be targeted because they have worked with the United States.
"We want to look at what more we can do for them. And there is a very particular problem with Palestinians who have nowhere to go since, in a sense, they are stateless. And so we are working on all of those fronts."
Rice said she recently asked U.S. Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky to head a task force "to pull all of our efforts together and to make recommendations to me within the next few weeks as to what more we can do on this issue. I think it is an issue that we really must get on top of." -- NNN-KUNA