Following a telephone call with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued the following statement today (7 March) on German support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
Today I spoke to António Guterres who is deeply concerned given UNRWA’s acute financial difficulties. Germany’s position is clear. More than 5 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria are in an extremely precarious situation and are depending on urgent support, particularly humanitarian assistance. UNRWA, with the help of the international community, performs essential work for those in need also by training young people and making medical care available. Providing the support on which so many are dependent to make it through their daily lives remains an urgent necessity.
Last year, Germany provided UNRWA with a good 80 million euros of support. The Federal Government is committed to supporting UNRWA. As laid down in the draft coalition agreement, we will, also within the EU, work to bring about long-term financing for the organisation and at the same time further reforms.
On 15 March, Sweden, Egypt and Jordan are co-hosting a conference in Rome also to discuss the organisation’s financial situation. Today, I signalled to the United Nations Secretary-General that Germany will engage in intensive efforts to advocate to our European partners and to key actors in the region that UNRWA can continue its important work and avoid financial collapse.