Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced that the Hashemite Kingdom would lead a campaign to raise funds for UNRWA, to help it survive after Washington’s decision to slash its funding. In a meeting with the U.N. agency’s Chairman Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the Jordanian top diplomat warned that any shortage in funding will mean a lack of services for Palestinian refugees, which subsequently will drive hundreds of thousands towards deprivation and despair and difficult living conditions. “The main and necessary services provided by UNRWA guarantee a decent living standard for more than 5 million refugees in its 5 areas of operation, and guarantee rights to education, to healthcare and other basic services provided by UNRWA. Therefore, any shortage in funding will mean a lack of services and this will drive hundreds of thousands towards deprivation and despair and difficult living conditions,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said.
It is important to note that Jordan, which numbers a population of 10.17 million people, houses some 2.2 million U.N. registered Palestinian refugees, whom are entitled to UNRWA’s aid and services. That is why, Minister Safadi revealed that Jordan will call for an Arab League meeting to lobby for donors to cover the 200 million dollars shortfall needed to bolster UNRWA’s ability to function. The UNRWA Chairman on his part stressed that “One cannot wish 5.3 million Palestine refugees away,” asserting that so-long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, UNRWA will continue to implement the mandate given to it by the U.N. General Assembly. “One cannot wish 5.3 million Palestine refugees away. These are people who have rights and for many years now, for decades have faced a plight and injustice that is simply immense. In our determination, as long as a just a lasting solution has not found to the issue of Israel and Palestine and to the conflict, we will continue to implement the mandate that the General Assembly has given us,” UNRWA Chairman Pierre Kraenbuehl said.
Last week, the Jordanian Foreign Minister raised the plight of UNRWA with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, during which Safadi reportedly warned his American counterpart of “dangerous consequences” to regional stability if the financial crisis were not resolved.