EU renews support to UNRWA and for two-state solution

Ghassen Fridhi
Ghassen Fridhi - Brussels Correspondent, Al Arabiya English
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The European Union (EU) has renewed its continuous financial support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and stressed its full commitment to the “two-state solution and for Jerusalem as a capital of both states”.

“European Union and member states have provided reliable and predictable support to UNRWA since 1971, so for decades,” EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told reporters during the European Commission daily briefing on Tuesday.

This came after US President Donald Trump’s administration said that they will give the UN agency $60 mln in aid for Palestinians but will withhold a further $65 million for now.

“While important, this funding is dramatically below past levels. The total US contribution in 2017 was above $350 mln,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl stated.

“This reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East. At stake is the access of 525’000 boys and girls in 700 UNRWA schools, and their future. At stake is the dignity and human security of millions of Palestine refugees, in need of emergency food assistance and other support in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At stake is the access of refugees to primary health care,” Krähenbühl added.

EU and the member states are also among the largest contributors to the funds for the agency itself, for its humanitarian emergency appeals and projects in response to various crisis and specific needs across the region, EU Commission spokesperson said.

The last EU-UNRWA declaration was signed last June for 2017-2020.

Two-state solution

“The EU believes the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital for both” Maja Kocijancic stressed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet next Monday in Brussels with EU foreign affairs ministers to discuss the Middle East crisis.

EU and Norway convened an extraordinary session of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC). The meeting will be held in Brussels on 31 January 2018, at Ministerial level. Participants will discuss measures to speed up efforts that can underpin a negotiated two-state solution.

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