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Safadi, Swedish FM, UNRWA chieftalk garnering financial support to agency

UNRWA in need of funds to continue mandate, combat COVID-19, meeting hears

By JT - Apr 14,2020 - Last updated at Apr 14,2020

A view of a street in Zarqa camp, the oldest camp for Palestine refugees in Jordan and one of the 10 camps in the Kingdom to which UNRWA provides services (Photo courtesy of UNRWA)

AMMAN — Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini on Tuesday held a trilateral meeting to discuss the work strategy that will be launched to mobilise support for UNRWA.

The work strategy aims to help UNRWA meet its financial needs in light of the increasing financial pressures it is facing, which are compounded by its requirements for combatting the spread of COVID-19, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

During their remote meeting, the participants discussed preparations for the second ministerial strategic dialogue on UNRWA, to be held remotely soon in order to consult with partners on ways to provide sustainable political and financial support to UNRWA during 2020 and beyond, in accordance with long-term financing mechanisms.

The meeting discussed ways to support the agency during its extended mandate following the overwhelming majority vote for its renewal in the United Nations General Assembly in December 2019.

The participants stressed the importance of translating that political support into financial support to enable UNRWA to continue providing its vital services to Palestinian refugees efficiently and without interruption.

Safadi, Linde and Lazzarini discussed the financial challenges facing UNRWA, the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on Palestinian refugee communities and the budget and programmes of the agency.

They stressed the importance of continuing UNRWA's programmes within international efforts aimed at mitigating the consequences of the pandemic, highlighting that providing the financial support that UNRWA needs to offer its services to Palestinian refugees is “a cornerstone of regional stability and security”.

They also stressed the importance of continuing support to UNRWA in accordance with its international mandate until a lasting and just solution for the Palestine refugee issue is reached.

They highlighted that the solution must be in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and in the context of a comprehensive solution to the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.

Safadi affirmed that the challenges facing the agency call for effective and rapid regional and international action to provide the allocations that the agency needs to meet its budget deficit, especially as the available funding is only sufficient for the end of May.

He stressed the importance of providing the emergency support that UNRWA needs to face the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, warning that if the agency is unable to deal with the consequences of the pandemic due to a lack of financial resources, it will have regional implications.

Safadi expressed appreciation for Sweden's “central role” in efforts to support UNRWA and thanked the Swedish foreign minister for her “active and essential partnership”, noting that the two kingdoms are partners in this effort and work together systematically and institutionally to support UNRWA.

Safadi affirmed the Kingdom's support for Lazzarini in his new appointment as UNRWA Commissioner-General and thanked former Acting Commissioner-General Christian Saunders for his efforts during his tenure at the agency.

The meeting was attended by Saunders and Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation Peter Eriksson.

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