French Ambassador in Jordan David Bertolotti and representative of Caritas Jordan for Iraqi Refugees Wael Suleiman signed an agreement, on Tuesday, June 13, valid for one year with an amount of 250,000 euros. The agreement is designed to support the training and vocational integration programme of Iraqi refugees, most of whom fled Iraq in 2014 and are currently living in Madaba and Karak.

The signing ceremony, which took place at the residence of the French ambassador, was attended by acting nuncio of the Holy See in Amman Monsignor Roberto Cona, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan Fr. Rif’at Bader, parish priest of the Karak Roman Catholic Church Fr. Boulos Baqa’in, and a number of Caritas Jordan senior officials.

The French Ambassador referred to the final recommendations of the joint Jordanian-French conference which was held in Paris on September 8, 2015, on the victims of religious and ethnic violence in the Middle East, where the participants expressed their readiness to work for the protection of the diverse cultural, religious and heritage which is invaluable for the region and the entire humanity. He stressed that France “remains committed to respecting the freedom of opinion and belief, including religious freedom as well as religious diversity in the Middle East, and it will continue to do so.”

This Caritas project falls within this framework as it is financed by a French Foreign Ministry fund which was launched at the Paris Conference and is designed to support the victims of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle East. A follow-up conference was held in Madrid on May 24, 2017 to underline the international community’s support for cultural diversity in the Middle East. The fund is intended to enable all peoples of the region to live in their countries safely and enjoy full citizenship.

For his part, Caritas Jordan Director Wael Suleiman expressed his appreciation for the French support which reflects the distinguished relations between Jordan and the two friendly peoples. He stressed its importance bettering the life of Iraqis and the local communities in Karak and Madaba. He noted that a school will be established in Karak this year designed to teach handicrafts to Iraqi refugees and members of the local community.

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