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    09-Aug-2018

Safadi, UNRWA chief meet over agency’s cash crisis

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi on Wednesday met with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl over financial challenges facing the agency.
 
During the meeting, Safadi and Krahenbuhl reviewed the measures taken by Jordan and the UNRWA to secure the necessary financing to address the deficit in the agency's budget, a ministry statement said.
 
They also reviewed measures to warn against the deficit's consequences, which, they agreed, will lead to slashing educational, health and relief services to Palestine refugees in its areas of operation.
 
Safadi warned that the lack of funding "would deprive millions of refugees from their rights in education and medical treatment and will deepen their suffering".
 
The minister stressed that the international community should shoulder its legal, political and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinian refugees. 
 
The fate of refugees, he asserted, is a key final status issue that must be resolved on the basis of the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy, particularly UN Resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative, to guarantee their right to return and compensation.
 
UNRWA is facing a deficit that would have catastrophic repercussions on the refugees if not addressed before the current allocations are consumed.
 
For his part, Krahenbuhl voiced his appreciation for the Kingdom’s efforts to find effective solutions for the challenges and secure funds.
 
Jordan has recently co-chaired a ministerial emergency conference in Rome to support UNRWA, where $100 million were pledged, according to the statement.
 
More recently, Jordan has deployed its diplomatic apparatus to garner support for UNRWA. On Tuesday, Safadi discussed the crisis with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide, whose country is a key donor to Palestinians. 
 
Earlier in the week, Safadi and Krahenbuhl talked over the phone and discussed steps to be taken to secure the necessary backing for the agency’s mandate. 
 
The diplomatic flurry came as US-based Foreign Policy magazine reported that Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been promoting a scheme to undermine relief agency, citing internal e-mails obtained by the magazine.
 
“His initiative is part of a broader push by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to strip these Palestinians of their refugee status in the region, and take their issue off the table in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, according to both American and Palestinian officials. At least two bills now are making their way through Congress to address the issue,” the August 3 report said. 
 

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