Senators ask for Iraqi refugee coordinator

April 8, 2008 at 3:23 PM

WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- Two U.S. Democratic senators are urging the Bush administration to appoint an official to coordinate the overall U.S. policy for Iraqi refugees.

In a letter, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., asked the administration for "appropriate action" after reading a staff report on the more than 2 million refugees who fled Iraq during the war and now live in Jordan, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, The Washington Post reported.

The report found "a startling lack of American leadership in a crisis that much of the international

community considers a result of our intervention in Iraq," the Post reported.

Citing the report, Kennedy and Biden said they concluded, "the war in Iraq has resulted in one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the post-Cold War era."

White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said James B. Foley -- former ambassador to Haiti and Deputy Commandant and international affairs adviser at the National War College -- and Department of Homeland Security refugee coordinator Lori Scialabba were named in 2007 to manage U.S. efforts on Iraqi refugees.

"We believe they are making important contributions and should continue to lead the efforts," Lawrimore said.

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