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GCC Reconciliation Shapes New Promising Era
His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, The Amir of Qatar
“Sensing the historical responsibility at this defining moment in the march of the Gulf Cooperation Council and in fulfilment of the hopes of our peoples, I participated alongside our brothers in the Al-Ula summit to heal the rift, and we all hope for a better future for the region. I thank the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the generous welcome and I thank the brotherly State of Kuwait for their appreciated efforts.”
Commenting on the declaration signing, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia affirmed:
“The declaration strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood among our countries and peoples in order to serve their aspirations”.
The Al-Ula Declaration paved the way for many significant developments in the region, including restoring ties between Qatar and its neighbouring countries, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain. They all agreed to restore trade ties and transportation, including flights and to reopen the borders.
Speaking to CNBC, the Qatar Financial Centre chief Executive Officer, Yousuf Al-Jaida
“The reconciliation means a stronger, more powerful Gulf Cooperation Council. The impact is going to be positive on trade, which means countries are going to be working closely with each other.”
COVID-19 Status in Qatar
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In the framework of the Task Force on COVID-19 and the Impact on Migration/Mobility that IOM co-convenes, with ILO, ESCWA and WHO, a meeting was held on the Impact of COVID-19 on Migrants and Refugees in the Arab Region. The meeting focused on several issues, including health, access to services, and income security, and presented key policy recommendations to address those issues.
IOM Kuwait collaborates with Academia for the Film Festival. As part of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), IOM organised a virtual screening of ‘Women’s Country’ which was followed by a discussion on "Films for social change: how can the arts change social perceptions?" led by panelists from the Kuwait University, the American University of Kuwait and Manshoor, a local production house.
Acknowledging the particularly crucial role that civil society organisations (CSOs) and other non-government stakeholders, such as academia and media are playing in support of vulnerable migrant communities, the UN Network on Migration in Kuwait facilitated a national dialogue to identify and potentially collaborate on main thematic challenges for 2021, especially in light of the ongoing health and consequential economic crisis.
Effective January 2021, the Middle East Response (MER) grant implemented by IOM, in partnership with The Global Fund, will add 10 million Euros specifically for Jordan through a debt swap agreement between the Governments of Jordan, Germany and The Global Fund.
The debt cancelled by the Government of Germany has been reassigned to support the Jordan Health Fund for Refugees as well as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis activities in Jordan through the MER. The MER initiative provides essential HIV, tuberculosis and malaria services to key and vulnerable populations including refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), migrants, women, children and other conflict-affected populations in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, IOM engaged a “special voluntary return” flight to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire supporting the voluntary return of 82 beneficiaries, as well as special repatriation flights to Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe so that these 49 beneficiaries could return home after months of being stranded in Algeria.
IOM has registered over 4,000 VHR applicants since October in Aden. Following the nationality verification conducted by Ethiopian officials for 1,160 Ethiopians, the GoE is working on the issuance of travel documents to be sent to Yemen. Once these documents are received, IOM will proceed with necessary arrangements and process the VHR movements. Further discussions are ongoing with GoE and IOM Ethiopia on post-arrival arrangements, including reception and quarantine facilities. Meanwhile, IOM continues the provision of cash for work, food vouchers and emergency assistance to migrants awaiting return.