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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Cash pledged for Iraqi refugees
Refugees leaving Iraq for Syria
It is estimated that 50,000 Iraqis leave the country every month
The Iraqi government has promised to give $25m (12.5m) to help neighbouring Syria and Jordan cope with about two million Iraqi refugees.

The United States has agreed to accept 20,000 of the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees for resettlement.

The offers came at a UN conference in Geneva, which ended on Wednesday.

In all there are an estimated four million displaced Iraqis, nearly two million of whom remain in Iraq, forced to move by the violence in the country.

My government embraces its duty towards its citizens wherever they are and we will not abandon them
Hoshyar Zebari
Iraqi foreign minister

Washington and other western states have pledged millions to help solve what the UN describes as a neglected humanitarian crisis.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, says an estimated 50,000 Iraqis are now fleeing the violence in their country every month, and has warned that without international help, the crisis could have grave humanitarian consequences for the entire Middle East.

Neighbours under pressure

Western countries, particularly the US and UK, have been criticised for not doing enough to help Iraqi refugees or the countries neighbouring Iraq which have received millions of refugees.

At the conference Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, promised not to abandon citizens forced to flee the violence.

Displaced people's camp, Baghdad
Syria: 1,200,000
Jordan: 750,000
Gulf states: 200,000
Egypt: 100,000
Iran: 54,000
Lebanon: 40,000
Turkey: 10,000
Internally displaced: 1,900,000
Source: UNHCR

"My government embraces its duty towards its citizens wherever they are and we will not abandon them," he said.

Nearly two million of the four million Iraqis who have fled the violence since 2003 have sought refuge in Jordan and Syria.

These two countries have struggled to cope, and the UN is urging them not to close their borders to refugees escaping Iraq.

On Tuesday the US pledged US$18m toward UNHCR operations for Iraqi refugees, Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky announced.

France and Germany announced an additional two million euros ($2.7m) in funding at the conference.

Internal refugees

Conditions for internally displaced Iraqis are deteriorating, aid agencies reported.

Some Iraqi regional authorities have started to turn back people arriving from other regions because they are unable to cope with the high numbers of people.

Antonio Guterres, the head of the UNHCR, said the UN was ready to step up its effort inside Iraq - if cautiously.

"We all know that there are many things that cannot be done in Iraq, but [we nee to] to really concentrate our efforts on what can be done in Iraq.

"An action plan will follow and we are ready to increase our capacity in Iraq, namely with the establishment of international presence in Baghdad in order to be able to do more and to do better," he said.

Any build up of UN staff in Iraq will be gradual and on a small scale, officials insist - nevertheless the announcement is significant

The UN has not had a permanent presence in Baghdad since the bombing of its headquarters there almost four years ago.

Map: Iraqi migration totals

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