Arab Foreign Ministers Warn against Undermining UNRWA, Seek Sustainable Funding

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 12:15
Cairo – Sawsan Abou Hussein

Arab foreign ministers issued on Tuesday a call to support UNRWA following the United States’ decision to stop contributing its share of funds to the Palestinian refugee agency.

The ministers had met in Cairo for an extraordinary session to address the UNRWA crisis.

They stressed the need for the agency to continue its pivotal relief work, warning that any setback in its efforts will “fuel crises in the Middle East.”

It is an international, political, legal and moral duty to allow the agency to continue to pursue its relief work for five million Palestinian refugees in its five areas of operations, they added.

Respecting UNRWA means that the right for refugees to live a dignified life is also respected, they stressed.

They expressed their gratitude to international positions that had voiced support to UNRWA and countries that have paid their share of the funding. These contributions have lowered the agency’s current deficit from 417 million to 217 million dollars.

They have also allowed schools to open for the new academic year and ensured that services continue to be provided to refugees.

The reopening of schools is a clear message that the world supports UNRWA and its role, the ministers declared.

Furthermore, they lamented Washington’s decision to halt its contribution to the agency, warning of the dangerous repercussions the financial crisis will have on the refugees.

The ministers vowed that they will continue to support UNRWA to ensure that it will continue to perform its duties.

UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl presented the agency’s needs before the ministers, as well as the repercussions of Washington’s decision to end its funding.

The Cairo meeting was attended by the foreign ministers and heads of delegations of the Arab countries and the Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit. Saudi Arabia was represented by Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

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