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Russia, China oppose UN visit to Syrian refugee camps

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A majority of UN Security Council members support a trip to inspect Syrian refugee camps inside Jordan but Russia and China remain opposed to a visit, diplomats said Thursday.

Jordan this week warned that the growing exodus of Syrian refugees who had flooded over its border to escape civil war -- already over 500,000 -- was placing a "crushing weight" on the country.

Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid al-Hussein met UN Security Council envoys on Tuesday and later said the refugee crisis represented a threat to the country's future stability.

The 15 Security Council member nations discussed the possibility of sending a delegation to visit the refugee camps in Jordan but were unable to reach an agreement, Togo ambassador Kodjo Menan said Thursday.

"After the discussions today I am not able to say that a consensus has been reached," Menan said. "Two countries are against.

"We are going to explore all options because it would be a shame if we were unable to give a positive response."

According to a Security Council diplomat, Russia and China "are going to kill the idea" of a visit.

During Thursday's discussions, Russia suggested any UN delegation could also visit the Palestinian Territories, an idea rejected by the United States.

The council also discussed whether it should send officials to visit Turkey and Lebanon, two countries in the region which also host many Syrian refugees.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said the number of refugees in Jordan could reach 1.2 million by the end of the year -- equivalent to one fifth of the Jordanian population.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130503/russia-china-oppose-un-visit-syrian-refugee-camps