(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Amman allows 200 people to enter from no-man's-land

The Jordanian government on Monday and Tuesday allowed almost 200 people to enter its territory from the no-man's-land which separates its border from that of Iraq. The new arrivals, who had been camping at the Al-Karamah border crossing for three weeks, were transferred to a camp in Ruwayshid, about 60 km away.

It is understood that the Jordanian authorities had required the arrivals - Iraqis, Syrians and Palestininas - to sign waivers undertaking to return to Iraq once the current crisis was over, Peter Kessler, a spokesman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, told journalists.

Meanwhile, almost 900 Iranians remain in the no-man's-land site, most of them Kurds who had fled from the Al-Tash refugee camp west of Baghdad, and 58 other Iranians, reported by news agencies to be associated with the Iranian opposition group, Mojahedin-e Khalq, which was harboured by the former Iraqi regime. Muhammad Adwan, the Jordanian information minister and government spokesman, was quoted by The Jordan Times as saying: "We will not allow them to enter our country unless they will immediately leave after that. We can accept them only to transit via Jordan."

The group of 58 had all been previously recognised as refugees by various countries in Europe, the US and Australia, Kessler told IRIN, but had somehow found themselves back in Iraq. Adwan reportedly said his government was coordinating with the countries in question, and that he would not allow any recognised refugee into Jordanian territory.

Meanwhile, Rick Neal, a public health promotion facilitator working in no-man's-land with the NGO Oxfam, told IRIN that the water supply at the camp in no-man's-land had improved considerably following the delivery of 32 cubic metres of water on Tuesday afternoon. A total of 54 latrines would be constructed by Oxfam and Norwegian Church Aid in the next two to three days, in addition to the existing 24, he said, adding that some people were still defecating in the open.

People who had arrived in the camp on Tuesday were saying that at least 1,000 more Iranian Kurds would arrive in the next few days, he added.

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