Egyptian FM calls for backing Palestinian refugees amid coronavirus

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Thu, 09 Apr 2020 - 04:16 GMT

FILE - Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends a meeting with officials from countries neighboring Libya, Jan. 23, 2020 – Reuters

FILE - Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends a meeting with officials from countries neighboring Libya, Jan. 23, 2020 – Reuters

CAIRO – 9 April 2020: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday made a phone call with Philippe Lazzarini, the newly appointed Commissioner General of the United Nations agency supporting the relief of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

During the phone call, Shoukry congratulated Lazzarini on the new post in the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s keenness to continue cooperation with the agency in supporting and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, especially amid crisis of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it poses, which require backing the Palestinian refugees.

The minister also paid tribute to the UNRWA over its humanitarian and relief role in endorsing the stability of the Middle East, the spokesman added.

For his part, Lazzarini hailed the vital role played by Egypt in supporting the UN agency and also praised the country’s continuous efforts concerning Palestine. He expressed willingness to coordinate and consult with Cairo during the next period.

Before the coronavirus crisis, an UNRWA spokesman said the agency’s financial deficit this year is estimated at $120 million as part of the agency’s budget that hit $1.2 billion.

In an interview with the Voice of Palestine Radio, Sami Mushasha said the UNRWA seeks to mobilize political and financial support as well as to renew its mandate for the coming three years in cooperation with the Palestinian and Jordanian diplomacy, along with the Arab League.

He added that the UNRWA is committed to cooperation with the committee tasked with investigating corruption charges, calling for differentiating between corruption charges inside the agency and the renewal of its mandate.

The US State Department in a statement in August 2018 said the country would not make additional contributions to UNRWA, calling it “irredeemably flawed". This came months after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, brushing aside the objection by Arab and many other countries.

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