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Jordan-Sweden-UNRWA trilateral meeting discusses refugee agency’s budget deficit, pandemic impact

By JT - Sep 24,2020 - Last updated at Sep 24,2020

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Commissioner General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini hold a virtual trilateral meeting on Wednesday (Photos courtesy of Foreign Ministry)

AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Commissioner General of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini held a trilateral meeting over rallying the necessary international support to UNRWA to meet the agency's financial needs amid the increasing financial pressures and requirements to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a ministry statement.

Lazzarini, during the virtual meeting via video conferencing, briefed the envoys on the agency's financial situation and its efforts to provide the necessary support, touching on the agency's future plans.

Talks during the meeting went over the financial challenges facing UNRWA and the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on Palestinian refugee communities, also covering the agency's budget and programmes.

The officials also highlighted the importance of continuing the agency's programmes, as part of international efforts to handle and contain the consequences of the pandemic.

Offering financial support needed for the agency to provide vital services to Palestinian refugees is “a basis for regional stability and security”, the officials noted.

The three sides also affirmed the ongoing consultations with international partners on means of ensuring sustainable political and financial support for the agency, in accordance with long-term financing mechanisms to allow the agency to continue providing “efficient and uninterrupted” vital services to Palestinian refugees.  

Talks also reviewed preparations for the joint working group meeting in Stockholm, which will be organised by the Kingdom and Sweden next month, to discuss financial and political support to the agency with international partners. 

The group, which held a virtual meeting on April 22, 2020, includes Jordan, Sweden, Egypt, Kuwait, Norway, Germany, Britain, France, Japan and the EU, besides UNRWA.

Safadi stressed the importance of continuing political and financial support to the agency to enable it to continue playing its UN-mandated role, until reaching a lasting and a just solution to the refugee issue, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, most notably UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and within a context of a comprehensive solution to the conflict, on the basis of the two-state solution.

"The challenges facing the agency call for effective and swift regional and international action to provide the allocations for the agency to meet its budget deficit," Safadi added.

He stressed the necessity of providing UNRWA with urgent support to allow it handle the repercussions of the pandemic, warning that any failure in this arena will affect the whole region. 

Safadi also expressed appreciation for Sweden's vital role in supporting UNRWA.

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