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Safadi, Sweden’s Linde discuss preparations for int’l conference on UNRWA

By JT - Sep 23,2021 - Last updated at Sep 23,2021

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde pose for a group photo in New York on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of Foreign Ministry)

AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde on Wednesday night in New York held a preparation meeting for the international conference on UNRWA.

During the meeting, Safadi highlighted the importance of the international community to provide the necessary support for the agency to continue providing vital services to about 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in the health, aid and educational fields under its UN mandate, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.  

The minister stressed that “UNRWA has a pivotal role that cannot be compromised or reduced”. He praised the important Swedish role in mobilising international support for the agency under its partnership with the Kingdom. 

He also expressed appreciation for all partners for their support to UNRWA, stressing the importance of joint action to bridge the financial deficit the agency faces.

The deputy prime minister also called for reaching consensus on long-term financing mechanisms that will prevent the interruption of basic services that UNRWA provides for Palestinian refugees in its five areas of operation. 

A meeting co-chaired by Safadi and Linde, held on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, issued a final statement prior to holding an international conference on UNRWA under Jordanian-Swedish presidency in Belgium in November. 

The ministerial meeting saw the participation of representatives of Egypt, the EU Commission, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UK, the US and UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini.  

Participants stressed the main role of UNRWA in supporting Palestinian refugees and enhancing stability in the region. 

They also stressed that the upcoming UNRWA conference will serve as an opportunity to review the agency’s efforts and offer its plan to member states. 

The conference will guarantee effective action in implementing its tasks and modernising its work plans under the UN mandate.

The participants highlighted the importance of reaching a sustainable solution to financial crises UNRWA face, which threaten Palestinian refugees’ rights to a decent living. 

The participants stressed that UNRWA needs to be funded with sustainable finances, mainly through a long-term and multi-year basic finance from a more diversified base of donors.

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