16 Mar 2018 – 10:56

The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar has announced a $50m donation to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) which operates in the Palestinian territories and asylum countries.
“In affirmation of Qatar’s steady support policy towards the UNRWA, the State of Qatar today announces its donation of $50m and looks forward to everyone providing the necessary financial support to UNRWA to enable it to provide the necessary services to Palestine refugees” said the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary-General H E Dr Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi, reported QNA.
Qatar believes that funding the projects of UNRWA reflects a commitment that must be fulfilled by the global community and it is necessary to provide adequate guarantees for the continued funding of the agency and not to expose it to any financial shortfalls that violate its responsibilities and obligations.
This came during Qatar’s participation in the extraordinary ministerial meeting of UNRWA, which was held yesterday at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome with the attendance of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.
Speaking at the meeting, H E Al Hammadi said  the agency represents one of the international law mechanisms adopted by the UN to protect Palestinian refugees and to safeguard their rights and provide them with a decent living. Addressing the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference for UNRWA yesterday in Rome, the Foreign Ministry’s Secretary-General H E Dr Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi said Qatar continues to carry out its duties and responsibilities towards financially funding the UNRWA, and has continued to finance projects implemented by the Agency, especially in the education and health sectors.
H E Al Hammadi stressed the need to provide adequate guarantees for the continuation of funding UNRWA and to ensure that it will not be subjected to any financial deficiency in violation of its responsibilities and obligations. The international obligations that were cut are rights of permanent and acquired Palestinian refugees, and it is inappropriate to withdraw from commitments, he added.
The Secretary-General also highlighted Qatar’s support to the Palestinian refugees’ host countries, which are exerting continuous efforts to ensure their right to a decent life. He thanked all the host countries and called for all the countries to contribute to the support of these countries, which is facing major pressure related to providing the necessary services and needs for Palestinian refugees. It calls for the need to unite the efforts to provide the needs required for the implementation of projects for Palestinian refugees.
Dr Al Hammadi thanked the Italian government and FAO for holding this event, expressing his hopes for the conference to have results that support the UNRWA and contributes radically in solving the financial problems it is facing, in order to fund its special projects of providing education, health and work for Palestinian refugees.
The Extraordinary Ministerial Conference discussed the several-year long crisis of UNRWA, and ways to deal with this crisis for a better future for millions of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories and asylum countries, especially Jordan and Lebanon.
Under the theme, “Preserving Dignity and Sharing Responsibility  Mobilizing Collective Action”, the conference aim to raise fund for UNRWA’s projects. It is attended by representatives from more than 90 states and international and regional organisations including the United Nations, European Union and Arab League.
UNRWA has suffered a severe financial crisis since the United States cut its funding by nearly $300m, causing the agency a deficit of $450m.