Safadi Heads UNRWA Conference in Rome, Qatar Donates USD50m

تم نشره في Thu 15 March / Mar 2018. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Thu 15 March / Mar 2018. 08:34 PM
  • Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres meet on the sidelines of the UNRWA support conference in Rome – (Archives)

DOHA/ROME —AlGhad— Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, on Thursday inaugurated the extraordinary ministerial conference in support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), held at the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Italian capital, Rome.

During the conference, Qatar announced extending a USD50 million donation to the UNRWA to support it in the face of the defunding crisis, according to Russia Today.

Earlier this year, the United States of America (USA) cut UNRWA funding by more than half, for 2018, after committing to over USD300 million, annually.

Prior to that, US President Donald Trump publicly recognised the occupied city of Jerusalem as the “eternal capital of Israel”.

He also announced the underway preparations for the US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

International outrage against the President’s announcements did not seem to deter his ongoing agendas, including the self-proclaimed “Deal of the Century” to “resolve” the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Defunding the UNRWA was one the steps made by the US administration to liquidate the Palestinian refugees’ return right, political commentators and analysts explain.

In a speech at the opening of the event, Safadi said, "Our meeting today comes at exceptional circumstances, as UNRWA faces a difficult financial crisis that threatens the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to live in dignity."

"What we do today is key to 500 thousand Palestinian students to help them get basic right of education at schools, to receive necessary medical treatment, and also concerns more than one million Palestinian men and women to continue receiving assistance to meet their living needs" he explained.

Safadi said: "the problem is real and its repercussions are serious, it is important our reaction as an international community should be tangible and up to this problem."

He pointed out continuing the support for UNRWA is a political message that the world still cares about suffering of the Palestinian refugees, in which 5th, next May marks seventy years of their suffering and injustice.

The international community remained committed to finding a just solution to the refugee plight as a final status issue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, in particular 181, he said.

He stressed the support of UNRWA is a political message that the international community has not abandoned the Palestinian refugees and has not left them victims of destitution and despair, and will not contribute to depriving half a million students of their right to decent living and education in the five areas of UNRWA work.

He said Jordan, Egypt and Sweden worked with UNRWA and the European Union and in coordination with many countries to hold this conference, a call for effective action that leads to securing what UNRWA needs to continue providing its services.

"Today, we stress the need to continue working to ensure effectiveness of the agency and centrality of reaching long-term financial planning," he said, and added "this conference is the beginning of an ongoing process of support that will enable UNRWA to provide vital services."

For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said pressure on Palestinian refugees could lead to "an explosion" and negative consequences that affect their lives and their future.

He said UNRWA students have future aspirations and highlighted importance of the role of education in building a Palestinian society that enjoys security and dignity through social programs that have a positive and good impact on the situation of refugees.

The continued provision of essential services to refugees contributes to their stability and is a winning card for the international community, which must continue to provide the necessary support to this international organization, Guterres added.

Guterres said the absence of a comprehensive solution to the challenges facing UNRWA would contribute to the weakening of its role because of the unavailability of resources needed.

He called on the international community to help alleviate this concern by providing financial resources and other funds to support the organization and to provide security and stability for the Palestinian refugees.

He added UNRWA is dedicated to supporting and assisting Palestinian refugees and providing them with basic services.