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International Ministerial Conference on UNRWA 

(16 November 2021)

Address

by

Shri V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs

 

 

Excellencies,

 

It is indeed my pleasure to address this important International Conference on UNRWA. The initiative of Sweden and Jordan to organize the conference at this juncture is highly commendable.

 

UNRWA provides humanitarian assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees, and its activities are crucial for both humanitarian purposes and stability in the region. We deeply appreciate the efforts of UNRWA personnel on ground, despite various constraints and challenges faced by them. Living conditions of over 5 million Palestinians has continued to remain precarious. The COVID pandemic and the conflict of May 2021 have further complicated the situation requiring additional resources.

 

We understand that UNRWA has endeavoured to overcome its financial difficulties through new initiatives, including austerity and cost control measures towards achieving efficiency. 

 

We believe that it is time to scale up our collective efforts to ensure continuity of UNRWA’s essential services. Let me assure you that India will continue to extend helping hand to the Palestinian refugees by various means, including through its financial contribution to UNRWA. 

In response to the previous appeals, we enhanced our annual pledge to UNRWA from US$ 1.25 million to US$ 5 million in 2018 and have maintained it since then. For this year, we have already disbursed US$ 2.5 million and I am pleased to inform that the second tranche of US$ 2.5 million will be released this week. We reiterate our commitment to provide US$ 5 million in 2022. 

 

Our position on the Palestine issue has been consistent. India, over the years, has continued to remain a committed development partner of Palestine supporting its nation building efforts. We are actively engaged in extending technical and developmental assistance to improve lives of the Palestinian people. I am glad that even during the pandemic our projects have progressed, including the Palestine-India Techno-park, two Schools, the National Printing Press and a Women’s Empowerment project. 

 

We appeal to other donor countries, organizations and institutions of to continue with their contributions to UNRWA by various means.  

 

To conclude, I would like to reiterate India’s support for UNRWA and the able leadership of the Commissioner-General during these difficult times. I once again thank the organizers for convening this Conference and giving us the opportunity to participate. 

 

Thank you.

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