Arab Ministerial Council Kicks Off, UNRWA’s Support on the Agenda

Arab Ministerial Council Kicks Off, UNRWA’s Support on the Agenda

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 06:15
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (R) receives UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl (C) at the Arab League's headquarters in Cairo on September 10, 2018 (AFP Photo/MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)
Cairo - Sawsan Abu Husain and Mohamed Nabil Helmy
The Arab League’s 150th session convenes in Cairo on Tuesday at the ministerial level, with an emphasis on supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
 
In this regard, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit stressed that Arab countries would not accept the dissolution of the international agency, stressing: “The ultimate goal of US policy is to undermine the legitimacy of UNRWA and undermine the UN mandate granted to it in order to settle the refugee issue.”
 
“The Arab countries are fully aware of this matter, and will not allow dismantling the agency or replacing it with alternative entities, as sought by Israel and the United States,” he added.
 
Aboul Gheit was speaking during a meeting in Cairo on Monday with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, who presented an overview on the crisis following the United States’ decision to suspend its financial contribution to the agency.
 
The secretary general’s spokesman, Ambassador Mahmoud Afifi, said that Aboul Gheit reviewed with the UNRWA commissioner ways to compensate for the US financial contributions and to fill the agency’s deficit so it would be able to continue its operations in the next phase, especially with regard to schools that serve about half a million Palestinian children.
 
Afifi added that a ministerial meeting would be held on Tuesday to discuss how to support UNRWA politically and financially, on the sidelines of the Arab League meeting at the ministerial level.
 
Krahenbuhl held a news conference on Monday at the headquarters of the United Nations Information Center in Cairo, saying he visited Egypt to discuss with the concerned Arab officials ways to deal with the funding crisis.
 
The UN official thanked Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for securing a total funding of USD50 million in aid to UNRWA.
 
He added that the agency needed an additional USD200 million to sustain its operations until the end of the year.

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