NEW YORK – The UAE reaffirmed its commitment to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and expressed support for finding innovative solutions to financing the agency’s vital work.

Mr. Saud Al Shamsi, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN, renewed the UAE’s longstanding support to the agency in his statement at the special meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Pledging for UNRWA. He underlined that the UAE’s commitment to UNRWA stems from the country’s historic and unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people. He also emphasized that the agency contributes to the maintenance of security and stability in the region.

Mr. Al Shamsi noted that the UAE’s additional contribution to the agency in 2018 amounted to over USD 50 million, making the UAE the sixth largest donor to the agency for that year. This contribution has helped maintain the agency’s educational programs for hundreds of UNRWA schools, as well as the agency’s health and food programs. In addition, the UAE contributed USD two million to finance fuel for power stations which support hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and provided USD 364 million through UAE aid initiatives in humanitarian, development and food assistance to the Palestinian people during 2017 and 2018.

Mr. Al Shamsi stated that the UAE welcomed the decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during its 46th session held in Abu Dhabi, which established a development fund in support of the UNRWA.

Additionally, Mr. Al Shamsi noted that the UAE will continue to support the agency including when it assumes the Vice-Chairmanship of the Advisory Committee of UNRWA in July 2019

Furthermore, Mr. Al Shamsi underscored the importance of reaching a just, lasting, and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question, ending the suffering of the Palestinian people and establishing an independent Palestinian state based on the June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. He stressed that the UAE will continue to work with its international partners and UN agencies in support of humanitarian issues around the world.