Saudi Arabia donates $27 million to UN agency supporting Palestinians

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Saudi Arabia has contributed $27 million to a UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees.

The Saudi Ambassador to Jordan Nayef al-Sudairi handed over the amount to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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“This renewed commitment to the work of UNRWA is in line with the Kingdom’s long-standing generosity towards Palestine refugees and in solidarity with them” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner General during a ceremony held at the Saudi Embassy in Amman, according to the SPA report.

The programs run by UNRWA include support with health and education for Palestinian refugees in West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

Praising the work that the UN-backed agency does, al-Sudairi said that UNRWA’s work “has become especially critical in light of the unprecedented financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges of the repeated Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian people across the Palestinian territories,” according to the SPA report.

Al-Sudairi added: “The Kingdom affirms its commitment to peace as a strategic choice.”

“Security and stability of the Middle East require speeding up efforts to reach a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question, in line with international resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

“The Kingdom condemns all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution and calls for their immediate cessation.”

Saudi Arabia has given over $5.2 billion to support Palestinians since 1999 in areas including infrastructure, health, education, food and agriculture security, Palestinian government and civil society, water, and environmental reform.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest donors to UNRWA. Saudi Arabia has contributed nearly $1 billion to UNRWA only in the past decade. This recent contribution comes following a pledge of $50 million the Kingdom made in 2019,” a report from the UNRWA said.

The UN-backed agency was established in 1949 to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees. UNRWA is funded mostly by voluntary contributions.

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