UAE's Sheikh Abdullah discusses support for UNRWA work with Lazzarini

Two million people in Gaza rely on the agency for survival, commissioner general warns

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the UN agency for Palestine refugees. Photo: Wam
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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs, met the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to discuss the urgent work carried out in the Gaza Strip.

Sheikh Abdullah and UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini held talks in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Mr Lazzarini said the agency "plays a key role on in preserving the stability in the region and delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where two million people depend on the agency for survival".

Sheikh Abdullah emphasised that supporting the UNRWA "is essential to consolidating security and stability in the region", state news agency Wam reported.

He also reaffirmed the "UAE's unwavering support for UNRWA, highlighting that in light of the current challenges, sustaining its humanitarian efforts has become an urgent priority", Wam said.

Western donors have halted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to the UNRWA over claims that 12 of the agency's staff were linked to the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7. It employs about 13,000 people in Gaza.

The US was the agency's largest donor in 2022, providing $344 million, followed by Germany with $202 million that year.

"Sheikh Abdullah reiterated the call on donor countries that have suspended their funding to the UNRWA to reconsider their decision," Wam added.

Mr Lazzarini is visiting key partners in the region as Israel puts pressure on the UN to disband the agency. He later met Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman in Doha.

The Emirates also has aid workers and medical staff in Gaza and in Egypt, where injured Palestinians have been taken for treatment. Wounded adults and children, including amputees, have been flown to Abu Dhabi to be given care in several hospitals.


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Updated: February 05, 2024, 4:02 PM