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Ashrawi applauds UNRWA's commitment to Palestinian refugees

Sept. 14, 2018 12:41 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 14, 2018 4:21 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member, Hanan Ashrawi, applauded on Thursday the commitment of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to Palestinian refugees and condemned the United States administration for using UNRWA as a political tool.

Ashrawi met with the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, and his Chief of Staff, Hakam Shahwan, at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah City in the central occupied West Bank.

During the meeting, Ashrawi expressed gratitude for UNRWA's dedicated and professional efforts in providing the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees in occupied Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria with vital services and opportunities for work and development while safeguarding their legal and political rights.

She applauded UNRWA's overall contribution to the stability of the region as a whole.

The meeting mainly focused on the enormous obstacles and the financial crisis, which UNRWA is currently facing, in carrying out its mandate to assist Palestinian refugees as a result of the United States administration's politicization of humanitarian aid by ending all funds to the agency.

Ashrawi, as well as Krahenbuhl, expressed their appreciation to the more than 25 donors, which includes China, Germany, Qatar, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, for their additional financial aid.

The additional financial aid was contributed to help the agency to continue to provide all essential services and assistance, and not to be forced to end education or food programs.

Both parties said in a statement "We are confident that the additional sponsorship of the organization will herald a new partnership, whereby UNRWA will emerge more vitalized and secure in its mandate and its support system."

Ashrawi added that "it is unfortunate that the US administration decided to use UNRWA as a political tool in its efforts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinian people and leadership, thereby causing harm to the most vulnerable segment of the Palestinian population."

She continued "We, as the PLO, are committed to working with and supporting UNRWA to ensure that it continues to carry out its mandate according to UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) and that it is guaranteed stability and continuity until the refugee question is resolved on the basis of justice and international law and conventions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (III)."

Ashrawi concluded the meeting by calling on the entire international community to provide UNRWA and the Palestinian people with "a safety net" and financial stability.
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