Arab league chief: renewing UNRWA’s mandate will reflect global consensus rejecting end of agency’s role

CAIRO, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said today that the vote to renew the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in November and December will reflect the global consensus that rejects ending the role of the UN Agency.

Aboul Gheit’s comments came during his speech at the 152nd session of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers which kicked off today in Cairo.

He said that the past three years have been a lost time for the Palestinian cause, rather than engaging in serious peace process based on clear terms of references, we have found ourselves in vicious circles waiting for announced plans and visions to be preached, while the reality on the ground does not bode well for optimism.

“The only plan we see now is being implemented unfortunately aims at liquidating the Palestinian cause…this plan starts from an inverted vision of the situation that blames the people who are under occupation and not the occupying power.”

The Secretary-General pointed out that those who believe pressuring and strangulating the Palestinians would lead them to accept what they did not accept in the past, and instead of working to end the occupation – the core of the conflict since 1967- some parties insist on addressing the issue by undermining its main pillars.

Aboul Gheit affirmed that the international consensus is still firm on the fact that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory and a final status issue that cannot be resolved by unilateral declarations or moves.

He noted that the United States has cut off its fund to UNRWA and is now trying to undermine the agency’s mandate, stressing that a vote to renew the mandate of UNRWA will reflect the global consensus against the end of the agency’s role.

For his part, (UNRWA) Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, said there is an unprecedented campaign against the agency to delegitimize the Palestinian refugee issue, calling for action to renew the mandate of UNRWA.

Krahenbuhl said that all means have been used in the campaign, stressing that he has not seen this fierce targeting by any humanitarian organization to deny the rights of the entire refugee community.

He pointed out that the UNRWA financial crisis is not over despite the international efforts made to confront the US funding cuts to the agency.

Despite the challenges, progress has been made as UNRWA’s more than 700 schools with nearly half a million students are now working thanks to the participation of our host country partners, with the contribution of Jordan and the support of Palestine and Lebanon.

He pointed out that UNRWA’s budget amounted to $1.2 billion for all its activities and reduced the funding shortfall from $ 211 million to $ 120 million.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency