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Monday, 23 December 2019 09:07

UNRWA relief agency mandate renewal welcomed by Palestine

Palestine welcomed the UN General Assembly's resolution to renew the mandate of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for another three years.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki said the adoption of the resolution reaffirms the international community's commitment to the Palestinian cause.

The UN resolution comes in response to the United States and Israeli pressures to terminate the operations of UNRWA, al-Maliki said.

The international community "stood against the Israeli and US pressures and voted in favour of the mandate renewal of the UNRWA," he added.

"This is a new victory for Palestine and a defeat for Israel and the United States," the Palestinian minister noted.

The UN General Assembly's Fourth Committee voted on Friday night to renew the mandate of the UNRWA until June 30, 2023, with 196 votes in favour and nine abstentions.

Only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution.

The UNRWA is considered a highly important organization for Palestinians as it offers essential services, including healthcare and schooling to more than 5 million refugees in the region.

Moreover, the relief agency highlights the internationally-backed right of return for Palestinian refugees in accordance with the UN resolution 194.

Immediately after the vote, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement thanking the UN member states that voted in support of the resolution.

"This decision is a clear message by the international community that international legitimacy resolutions can't be compromised or blackmailed," Abbas said in the statement published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

"Gaining a global overwhelming majority is a proof that the whole world is standing by our people's side, their historic rights and their just cause," he added.

Ahmad Abu Holy, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's refugees’ affairs department, said adopting the extension resolution by such an overwhelming majority is "a victory for the international community, the Palestinian people's just cause and inalienable rights."

As the oldest and largest relief organization, the UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered under it.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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