CAIRO: The UN’s refugee chief has appealed for financial aid to help Palestinian refugees and end a worsening crisis at his agency during a meeting with Arab League officials in Cairo.
Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, told the 159th meeting of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers that the rights and well-being of Palestine refugees were a collective responsibility until a fair and lasting solution could be found.
Lazzarini urged member states, particularly those with a long history of solidarity with the cause of Palestine, to extend their support through UNRWA’s services.
He also met Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Lazzarini said Egyptian support for Palestine refugees was important as UNRWA faces some of its most difficult political and financial challenges in its history.
He spoke about the rising tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the devastation caused by the recent earthquake in Syria, including among Palestine refugees.
“UNRWA is seeking a renewed commitment of member-states of the Arab League to the human development of the Palestine refugee communities,” Lazzarini said. “This is a cornerstone of regional stability, and a continuation of the generosity and solidarity that the Arab region is known for.
“Together we need to bring in knowledge, resources and creative energy to Palestine refugee communities. Together, we must continue to keep hope alive.”
The commissioner-general also met officials from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Iraq to thank them for their unwavering support for UNRWA. They also reviewed opportunities for the agency and Arab countries to mobilize political and financial support for Palestinian refugees.
“Long-standing Arab generosity has often transcended political differences and has contributed to one of the most successful human development stories of the region,” Lazzarini said.
“I truly hope this will remain to be the case this year and beyond, until there is a political solution that includes an end to the plight of Palestine refugees.”