World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt on Tuesday said that funding for the UN's UNRWA refugee agency should not be linked to political considerations.
Speaking at a meeting of the UNRWA's advisory commission in Jordan, Egyptian Ambassador Tarek Adel underlined the importance of maintaining the UNRWA's humanitarian role.
“UNRWA has become a pillar of stability in host countries in very complicated regional circumstances,” he told the meeting, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
He went on to call for finding solutions to the repeated UNRWA budget shortfalls, warning of grave consequences of suspending the agency’s activities before finding a fair solution to the Palestinian problem.
In his speech, the Egyptian diplomat highlighted the UNRWA role in maintaining the social stability of 1.3 million beneficiaries of the UN agency’s health, educational, and living services in the Gaza Strip.
The two-day meeting, which opened Monday, discusses ways of tackling UNRWA budget shortfalls.
In January, the U.S. announced plans to withhold $65 million of aid to UNRWA until further consideration, triggering a financial crisis in the UN agency.
Founded in 1949 (one year after Israel’s creation), UNRWA provides services to millions of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
By the end of 2014, the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide hit some 5.9 million, of which roughly 5.3 million are registered with UNRWA, according to Palestine’s official statistical agency.