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GENEVA, September 4 (UNHCR) - Government ministers from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey gathered in Geneva on Wednesday to take part in a meeting on the Syria refugee crisis chaired by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
Lebanon's Minister of Social Affairs Wael Abu Faour, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari arrived at the UNHCR headquarters on late Wednesday morning for the half-day gathering.
One day after the number of Syrians registered as refugees or waiting to be registered passed the 2 million mark, UNHCR is seriously concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, and the devastating impact this is having on countries hosting large Syrian refugee populations. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq are the four main hosting countries.
Marking the tragic milestone passed yesterday, Guterres said Syria had become "a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history." He added that "the only solace is the humanity shown by the neighbouring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."
More than 97 per cent of Syria's refugees are hosted by countries in the immediate surrounding region, placing an overwhelming burden on their infrastructures, economies and societies. They urgently need massive international support.
The High Commissioner and the four ministers were expected to give a press conference at the end of their talks and issue a joint statement. Their meeting paves the way for a ministerial-level gathering to be held on September 30 as part of UNHCR's annual Executive Committee gathering. Those discussions will seek to build consensus for large-scale commitments incorporating humanitarian and emergency development support. This would include the involvement of international financial institutions.