IOM Amman Press Briefing Note 24 Mar 2003

IOM Director General Brunson McKinley will arrive in Amman tonight on a three-day official visit to Jordan.
Tomorrow he is scheduled to meet with Mr Shaher Bak, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Qaftan Majali, Minister of the Interior, Dr Basem Awadallah, the Minister of Planning and Major General Majed Al Etan, Head of the Crisis Management Centre.

On Wednesday he is scheduled to visit IOM transport operations at the Iraq border and the Ruweished transit camp for third country nationals fleeing Iraq.

At 5.00 pm tomorrow, Tuesday, immediately after the UN press briefing, he will give a press conference in this room. He will outline IOM's humanitarian role in the ongoing Iraq crisis and will be happy to answer your questions.

A brief biography of Mr McKinley from IOM's website at is attached to this briefing note. Any broadcast media who would like to request one-on-one interviews with Mr McKinley after the press conference should let me know as soon as possible, preferably immediately after this briefing.

As you know, in relation to the Iraqi crisis, IOM's mandate includes transport for refugees and third country nationals to transit camps in countries bordering Iraq; repatriation for third country nationals; and coordination of relief efforts for displaced people inside Iraq as soon as access becomes possible.

In Jordan over the past week IOM has processed 482 third country nationals fleeing from Iraq. Some 359 of them, including 294 Sudanese, have already left Jordan to return home on flights and buses provided by IOM. Some 123 people remain in the Ruweished transit camp, pending their return home.

Third country nationals assisted by IOM in Jordan include Sudanese, Egyptians, Somalis, Eritreans, Malians, Chadians, Djiboutians and South Africans.

IOM is currently providing similar services for third country nationals fleeing Iraq into Syria. Yesterday it repatriated 28 Moroccans to Casablanca from Damascus on a commercial Syrian Airways flight.

IOM planners in the region are currently working UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and others to prepare for the eventuality of large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in post-conflict Iraq.

IOM's operations in the region are closely coordinated with governments and funded by the international donor community.