Egypt voices support for UN relief agency's mandate renewal

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-04 00:18:55|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAIRO, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Egypt stressed on Tuesday the importance of supporting the mandate renewal of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), official news agency MENA reported.

An extraordinary meeting of officials in charge of the Palestinian affairs in the Arab countries at the Arab League (AL) called for providing "all resources to continue the UNRWA operations in the Palestinian territories."

Khaled Radi, the director of the Palestine Affairs Department in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, confirmed Egypt's support for the international agency that is meeting the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians as "a basic right."

He pointed out the agency operations also guarantee stability and security in the hosting countries in the region.

AL Assistant Secretary General for Palestine Affairs Saeed Abu Ali said that "the agency is playing a very important role in providing services for 5.5 million of Palestinian refugees."

The UNRWA provides services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of some 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel's creation.

Last year the United States, UNRWA's biggest donor, said it was halting its aid of 360 million U.S. dollars per year to what it called an irredeemably flawed operation.

In May, U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt told the UN Security Council that UNRWA should be effectively dismantled. UNRWA's mandate, which has been repeatedly renewed by the UN General Assembly, runs until June 30, 2020.

The 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September is expected to decide whether to renew the UNRWA's mandate.

Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium had suspended their contributions to the organization while the UN inquiry was under way, Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner general of the UNRWA said on Tuesday.

"The U.S. administration is resuming its biased moves in favor of the Israeli occupation through stopping its funding of UNRWA," Ali said during the AL meeting.

Ali stressed the U.S. administration supported Israel by recognition of Jerusalem as a capital for Israel, closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s office in Washington and admitting the Israeli sovereignty on the occupied Golan Heights as well as halting the fund of UNRWA to hinder its humanitarian activities.

Ahmad Abu Holy, leader of the PLO's refugees affairs department said "UNRWA is subject to a serious conspiracy that targeted terminating the agency in light of the United States-Israeli move to impact the UN's members states for vetoing the renewal of the mandate for another three years.