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Host countries of Palestinian refugees coordinate ahead of UNRWA meeting

By JT - Jun 16,2019 - Last updated at Jun 16,2019

AMMAN — The Palestinian Affairs Department on Sunday hosted a coordination meeting for Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees with the participation of delegations from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and the Arab League.

The meeting was held ahead of a gathering for the advisory committee of UNRWA, slated to commence on Monday in the Dead Sea area, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Rafiq Khirfan, director general of the department, said that the meeting was held as per the recommendation of the 69th conference of directors of Palestinian affairs in Arab countries hosting Palestinian refugees that was hosted by Cairo in January 2003.

The recommendation called for hosting similar meetings to discuss and reach a unified Arab stance towards the issues and developments in UNRWA, and in conjunction with the “unprecedented and serious financial and political challenges” that threaten the presence of the agency, “under US endeavours to dissolve UNRWA”, Khirfan added.

The US last month called for effectively dismantling the refugee agency, proposing to have host countries take over the services it provides across the Middle East.

The suggestion, from US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at a UN Security Council meeting, was the latest US attack on the agency after it cut all funding to UNRWA last year.

UNRWA’s mission is due to come up for renewal later this year in the General Assembly.

The director general stressed the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem and Jordan’s unwavering support for the Palestinians’ rights.

UNRWA is the “symbol and testament of the Palestinian refugees’ case” and Jordan will never accept dissolving it before Palestinians receive all their legitimate rights as stipulated in international legitimacy resolutions, he stressed.

Ahmad Abu Houli, representative of Palestine, praised the Kingdom’s position that has never compromised its principles towards the Palestinian issue, calling for adopting a unified Arab stance on Arab causes, mainly those pertaining to the Palestinian issue and supporting UNRWA at the financial and political levels. 

Representative of the Arab League Haidar Jabbouri highlighted the importance of focusing on the financial crisis the agency is facing, in light of the US’ persistence not to support it.

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