Egypt chairs UNRWA Amman meeting

Monday 22 January 2018
12:00 PM

Ambassador Tarek Adel, the Arab Republic of Egypt’s ambassador to Jordan, chaired an emergency meeting of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Advisory Commission yesterday Sunday January 21, 2018. The meeting was held at the request of UNRWA and Palestinian refugees host states in light of the huge financial deficit in the Agency’s 2018 budget, which now constitutes a substantial threat to its capabilities in providing services to Palestinian refugees.

Ambassador Adel explained in his statement during the meeting the importance that donor states do not associate financial contributions to humanitarian purposes with demands of political nature as that would constitute a clear politicization of primarily humanitarian causes. He called for avoiding taking decisions of a sudden nature as they would expose humanitarian work in its entirety to grave risks due to the limited available time to assemble donors. He, also, emphasized the great importance of UNRWA work and its continuation, as well as, its existing bodies in light of the highly turbulent regional circumstances. He called for the assembled states to work towards finding creative alternatives that would contribute to resolving the current financial crisis.​

The call for holding the Advisory Commission’s emergency meeting comes as another episode of Egypt’s interest in the Palestinian refugee issue. It stems from its historical responsibility towards all aspects of the Palestinian cause and in light of its current chairmanship of the UNRWA’s Advisory Commission. In the same context, Egypt has, in its capacity as the current chair of the Advisory Commission, on a number of occasions sent messages to international donors urging them to bear their responsibilities towards the aggravation of the UNRWA’s financial crisis. Some of these messages were jointly sent by the Chairperson of the Advisory Commission and the UNRWA Commissioner-General while others were sent individually by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to a number of his counterparts in donor states. Further, the Egyptian FM made sure to discuss the UNRWA’s financial crisis at the Arab ministerial delegation meeting, which was held in Amman on January 6, 2018.​