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Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received today, February 1st, at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Tahrir, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl, as part of his current visit to Cairo. This visit is to discuss the latest humanitarian situation in Palestine and the situation of the Palestinian refugees, as the Agency faces difficulties which limit its ability to carry out its functions in favor of the Palestine refugees.
The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid, stated that the UNRWA Commissioner-General expressed his deep appreciation for Egypt's keenness to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinians, and valued as well Egypt's active role in support of UNRWA and its activities in light of the country's current chairmanship of the Agency's Advisory Commission since July 2017.
For his part, Foreign Minister stressed Egypt's keenness on taking action at the different levels, and coordinating efforts and positions with all regional and international donors in order to implement the developmental projects and provide all forms of support to ease the burden of the aggravated economic and social situation in the West Bank and Gaza, while referring to the outcome of the contacts and consultations he held on the sidelines of the extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) held yesterday in Brussels. Shoukry also hailed the humanitarian nature of the UNRWA functions and the efforts of the Commissioner-General to improve the situation of the Palestinian refugees, either inside Palestine or in host countries.
Abu Zeid added that Krähenbühl reviewed during the meeting the current difficult situation of the UNRWA due to the reduction of financial contributions from a number of countries, noting that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene an emergency meeting to discuss the deteriorating financial situation of UNRWA this month in Geneva. In this context, Krähenbühl explained that the Agency is currently looking for other funding alternatives to bridge the existing financial gap. For his part, Shoukry stressed that Egypt is keen on maintaining the UNRWA activities, which are perceived as one of the main pillars of stability for the situation of the Palestinian refugees, and is supporting the agency to continue its mandate and existing structures. Further, he alluded to the repercussions of the halt of the Agency's activities on the situation of the Palestinian refugees before reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question, affirming that he will raise all concerns of the Commissioner-General before the Arab Foreign Ministers during the Arab League meeting scheduled today.
Finally, Foreign Minister outlined Egypt's stance in support of UNRWA and its activities, as well as its eagerness to spare no effort and consult with the international donors in order to bridge the financial gap of the Agency, so as to ensure the continued vital role undertaken by UNRWA in order to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of our brotherly Palestinian refugees.