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  • 11:59 - 14 June 2022

UNRWA must remain in full control of mandate, say Arab nations

Lebanon, (Drah-agencies)--

The four Arab nations where the UN's Palestinian refugee agency operates together with Egypt insisted that the UNRWA remain in full control of its mandate in a meeting hosted by Lebanon on Sunday.

The countries gathered in Beirut, with Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee chief Basel Al-Hassan presiding.

Representatives from Jordan, Egypt, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Syrian regime - countries with large Palestinian refugee populations - in addition to the Arab League, were also present, according to Lebanon's official National News Agency.

The five countries dismissed "any measures or attempts targeting UNRWA's mandate granted to it under [UN] Resolution 302 (1949), through international organisations carrying out its tasks on its behalf, or by transforming its role".

They also described as a "necessity" UNRWA's "commitment to prior coordination with representatives of the host countries regarding any steps related to the refugee issue, whether on the level of UNRWA services and their development, or refugee rights".

They said they wish to see the committee propose "recommendations that will form a path for UNRWA to get out of its financial crisis and improve the quality of its services", as well as improve administrative processes and increase UNRWA's donor pool.

These advisory committee discussions will also be led by Lebanon and will consider UNRWA's financial woes and services for refugees, among other matters.

The four nations where UNRWA works and Egypt, itself home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, on Sunday praised the UN body's support for 5.8 million refugees, saying this helps ensure regional stability.

They urged UNRWA donor countries to "fulfil their financial obligations with respect to supporting UNRWA's budget and provide additional funding".

They also requested UN Secretary General António Guterres plug the hole in the agency's finances by providing more money from the central United Nations.

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