The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will accept 15,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, the WAM news agency reported on Thursday.
— Forsan UAE - English (@Forsan_UAE_EN) 22 September 2016
The report came two days after the country’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, Reem Al Hashemi, said the UAE is committed to working with the international community to find collective and effective solutions to prevent further escalation of the global refugee crisis.
Speaking at the "Leaders’ Summit on Refugees," which was held on Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York, she said the Emirates have spent more than 750 million dollars to support Syrian refugees.
She said the country has welcomed more than 123,000 Syrians since 2011 but none of them have refugee status.
The UAE and other Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman have been criticised for not offering more support to Syrian refugees.
They defend themselves by noting that each has contributed financial aid to the refugees through the United Nations and that thousands of Syrians have entered Gulf states on visas.
Finally the UAE's welcome step in accepting Syrian refugees may finally encourage other Gulf States to take in refugees.
— (@SultanAlQassemi) 22 September 2016
In her speech Hashemi said, "Ultimately, we must offer a source of hope for displaced persons that allows them to maintain dignity, return home, reintegrate themselves into their societies, and rebuild their countries and their lives."
"This takes a simultaneous development and humanitarian approach, where we consider both near-term urgency and the tools for longer-term empowerment," she continued.
The world is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War Two. The war in Syria, which broke out after the regime of Bashar al Assad harshly repressed protesters, has been the main contributor.
According to UN estimates Turkey has taken in more than 2.7 million refugees in the last five years. It is followed by Lebanon, which hosts more than 1 million, and Jordan, which has taken in nearly 650,000.