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Foreign minister says supporting UNRWA major constant, top priority for Jordan

UNRWA chief says many of agency's employees were killed, arrested, tortured

May 20,2024 - Last updated at May 20,2024

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in Amman on Sunday with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini (AFP photo)

AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi on Sunday said that supporting UNRWA is a major constant for Jordan, citing the Palestinian relief agency's humanitarian roles.

Speaking during a joint press conference with UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini, Safadi said that supporting UNRWA has been a priority for His Majesty King Abdullah even before October 7.

Safadi underscored the pivotal humanitarian role that UNRWA plays in providing essential support to Palestinian refugees.

Safadi described the allegations against UNRWA employees as a "political assassination attempt" after the charges against 12 out of its 13,000 staff members, were found to be baseless.

Safadi also expressed deep concern about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, stressing that the initial step towards mitigating this disaster is to first stop the “ruthless” aggression on Gaza and open all crossings to facilitate the entry of aid and allowing UN organisations, particularly UNRWA, to operate without hindrance or attacks.

“Despite all pressures, the agency continues to perform its role to provide aid to 2.3 million Palestinians suffering from this brutal war and its inhumane consequences of killing, destruction, and the lack of food, medicine, and education,” Safadi said.

Lazzarini appreciated the Kingdom’s continuous support for the agency and its solidarity with Palestinian refugees.

“Despite all the appeals from the international community to prevent the invasion of Rafah, the invasion began on May 6, and today we have half of Gaza’s population forced to flee, and certainly, there is no place for them to go. People have no other options but to return to the destroyed places and facilities, including UN buildings,” Lazzarini said.

“Since May 6, aid reaching Gaza has been scarce, and the two main crossings in the south, Rafah and Kerem Abu Salem, have turned into conflict and war zones, and there are currently no crossings to transfer aid across the borders.”

Lazzarini said that “189 UNRWA staff members killed in the war with 160 sites that were either partially or completely destroyed, besides arresting UNRWA staff members, torturing them and forcing to confess to crimes they did not commit.”

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